The Dust Mite Allergy

By: Grant Segall

Dust mites are so incredibly small that if you were to examine one gram of dust, you would find as many as 500. However, remember the saying, “Big things come in small packages.” This is true for dust mites in that this small creature can do a lot of damage. Keep in mind that the dust mite itself is not necessarily the problem but the proteins produced in the feces.

The dust mite is related to ticks and spiders and is commonly found in carpet, furniture, curtains, stuffed animals, bedding, and any place where dust collects. For a dust mite to grow, they must have a warm and humid environment, which is why you would not find them living in a dry climate or any place 3,000 feet above sea level or higher. While most people think they have reaction to dust, the fact is they actually have a dust mite allergy.

Dust mites eat dead skin from humans and then produce up to 20 pellets of waste each day. That means a female that lays eggs can produce around 30 mites every three weeks. For the person with a dust mite allergy, this is really bad news. Now, the interesting aspect of the dust mite is that since they do not bite or spread any type of disease, people without a dust mite allergy are not affected. On the other hand, the person with a dust mite allergy will definitely be miserable.

The most serious problem associated dust mites, is that this indoor allergen causes perennial allergic rhinitis. Because dust mites reproduce so quickly and can be difficult to eliminate, the person with a dust mite allergy will have symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose or stuffiness, respiratory problems, stopped up ears, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.

If you suspect that you have a dust mite allergy, you can do several things to make it better. For one, keep the home dusted and vacuumed regularly, especially if you have animals living inside the home. Additionally, if you live in a humid region, you might invest in a good dehumidifier, keeping the percentage of humidity between 75% and 80% and the air temperature around 75 to 80 degrees. Remember, once the humidity dips below 50%, the dust mite will die and the person with a dust mite allergy finds relief from the annoying symptoms.

Often, people with severe dust mite allergy will remove wall-to-wall carpeting and opt for hardwood or ceramic flooring instead. Other steps would include choosing furniture other than overstuffed, hanging blinds or shades instead of curtains, and if the kids have moved out and now on their own, packing up the old stuffed animals for storage or charity. Having a dust mite allergy can be frustrating but in most cases, the symptoms are not dangerous. The only exception would be for people with asthma in that a dust mite can trigger an attack.
About the Author:

Grant Segall is a Pharmacist and webmaster for

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