Dust Mite Allergy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
If you find yourself or your family suffering from hay fever-like symptoms inside the house, such as sneezing, coughing, and wheezing, it could be a dust mite allergy. These tiny critters live in household dust and can cause reactions in your nasal passages and immune system, leading to unpleasant symptoms.1
In this guide from Piri Allergy, find out what dust mites are, how to tell if they’re causing your allergies, and ways to rid your home of thgem, so you can breathe easier again.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic bugs related to spiders and ticks. They thrive in warm, humid environments, like furniture and upholstery, and often make themselves comfortable in bedding, sofas, and carpets. Unsettlingly, they even feast on dead human skin cells – as such, your home is their perfect target!1
Are Dust Allergy and Dust Mite Allergy the Same Thing?
They are related. Someone who is allergic to dust mites is actually allergic to the debris of dead mites and the faeces produced when they were alive, which collects as dust.1
If you are allergic to dust, you’re allergic to what it’s made up of – dead dust mites and their waste among it. You may also be triggered by pet hair, pollen, mould spores, and particles generated by other household pests like cockroaches; all of which makes up dust.2
Who Is Susceptible to Dust Mite Allergies?
Everyone in your household can be affected by allergy symptoms caused by dust mites, as these troublesome bugs congregate in warm environments where there is dead skin to feed on. That means adults, babies, children, and even your pet dog, can suffer from dust mite allergies.3
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
Sometimes, dust mite allergy symptoms can be mistaken for hay fever or cold and flu. However, here’s a full list of signs you may be allergic to dust mites:1
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Watery, itchy, red eyes
- Facial pain and pressure
- Blue-coloured skin and swelling under the eyes
Children and babies may show additional symptoms such as:1,3
- Frequent upward nose rubbing
- Itchy, irritated skin around the nose and mouth
- Dark circles around the eyes
- Dry cough
- Skin rash
- Runny nose with clear fluid
If you suffer from asthma, a dust mite allergy can exacerbate your symptoms. Look out for signs like:1
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest tightening
- Whistling or wheezing when exhaling
- Trouble sleeping due to coughing and wheezing
- Asthma attack
Eczema sufferers can also experience flare-ups as a result of dust mite allergies.1
If you suspect that dust mites are causing your allergies, talk to your doctor who can refer you for a skin prick test.4 Always get medical help if your symptoms are severe, like asthma attacks or chest pain, or if they seem to be getting worse.
Treatments for Dust Mite Allergies
The best treatment for allergens like dust mites is avoidance and prevention. Before we talk about that, there are a few treatment options to temporarily relieve symptoms, including:4
- Antihistamine tablets or syrup, like Piriteze
- Eye drops
- Nasal sprays
For relief for children’s allergies, always read the product label to make sure it’s suitable for their age group and check the correct dosage. Speak to your pharmacist to determine the best treatment for your family.
Can You Prevent Dust Mite Allergies?
The bad news is that you can’t eradicate dust mites from your home entirely – they’ll always be drawn to your upholstery, beds, clothing, and anywhere cosy where they can find a food source.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce their population in your home, which will hopefully keep your dust mite allergy symptoms manageable.
Here are some tips for dust mite allergy prevention in your home:5
- Choose lino, vinyl, or wood floors instead of carpets.
- Use wipe-clean roller blinds rather than curtains.
- Furnish with wood, plastic, vinyl, or leather instead of upholstered furniture
- Vacuum regularly.
- Regularly wash soft toys, cushions, curtains, towels and bedding at a high temperature.
- Use allergy-proof covers for your mattresses, duvets, and pillows.
- Choose a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, as this can remove more dust mites than other models.
- Avoid dry dusting – instead wipe down surfaces with a clean damp cloth.
- Mayo Clinic. Dust mite allergy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/symptoms-causes/syc-20352173. Accessed 03/02/2022.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Dust Allergies. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/dust-allergies/. Accessed 03/02/2022.
- Health Guidance. Babies and Dust Allergies. https://www.healthguidance.org/entry/14325/1/babies-and-dust-allergies.html. Accessed 03/02/2022.
- Patient. House Dust Mite and Pet Allergy. https://patient.info/allergies-blood-immune/allergies/house-dust-mite-and-pet-allergy. Accessed 03/02/2022.
- NHS. Prevention – Allergies. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies/prevention/. Accessed 03/02/2022.