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Can You Be Allergic to Dust in Your Home?

Dust itself is not an allergen. Instead, you can be allergic to microscopic organisms called dust mites that dust particles harbor.

Dust in your home is a horrifying substance of pollen, human dead skin cells, animal dander, insect parts, dirt, mold spores, and dust mites. The latter is one of the most common triggers of allergies and asthma.

Dust mites are very tiny creatures that live in places where they can feed on the people and pets’ dead skin to form colonies. Mattresses, bedding, upholstery, carpets, and stuffed animals are natural habitats for dust mites. They thrive in a humid and warm environment and their waste is highly allergic. Millions of these bugs are living in your home right now!

Dust mites don’t bite; they shed their skin and feces, which cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals who inhale them. The most common symptoms include stuffy and runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes.

Asthma attacks could happen, triggering wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness in hypersensitive people. Children and seniors are most vulnerable to dust mite allergy. Any buildup of dust in your home is an allergy attack waiting to happen.

To minimize exposure to mites:

  • Get rid of carpets. They are a magnet for dust mites. If carpeting is to be used, select options that are easier to keep clean, such as tile or linoleum floors.

  • Use allergen-proof covers to encase your mattress, pillows and box springs, so you don’t inhale allergens while sleeping.

  • Wash your linens in hot water (at 140 degrees Fahrenheit) at least once a week. Heat and dry air are two ultimate weaknesses for mites.

  • Keep humidity below 45 percent. Dust mites don’t survive when the relative humidity is below 45%.

  • Use a vacuum cleaner featured with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filter to retain mites inside the vacuum bag.

If you suspect you may have dust mite allergy, see an allergist for help.

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