How does dust trigger asthma symptoms? Many people assume that dust is a trigger for allergic reactions, but most of us couldn't tell you why.
It's not the dust itself, but the microscopic organisms living in the dust itself. Well, more specifically, it's their feces. That's right, the droppings of dust mites, is what causes all these problems.
Dust mites are too tiny for the naked eye to see, but believe me they're there and in their thousands, living in the dust that settles on your carpets, bedding and furniture.
It has now been clinically proven that these dust mite droppings cause allergic symptoms which in turn trigger asthma attacks. Despite this, many people have found successful methods to totally avoid or at least drastically reduce dust mite allergy symptoms.
So, let me present to you some of the top tips around in order to avoid dust mite allergy symptoms.
Avoid Contacting The Allergen
The first thing you’ll hear an allergist suggest with any asthma triggers, is to stop all contact with the allergen. Unfortunately, when it comes to dust, that's not very easy, if not darn right impossible. While you can do many things to avoid dust mite droppings in your home, you can't eliminate them entirely and at any rate, you will also find them in many other places such as the office, department store or a friend’s house. There are however ways that you can minimize contact.
Avoid any type of carpets and rugs in your household, especially the bedroom. Wall-to-wall carpeting is out of the question. Consider wood flooring or laminate.
Always wear a mask while sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming. Ideally, ask someone to do the cleaning for you. Since it takes about two hours for the dust to settle after cleaning, avoid coming into the room during that time.
Invest in dust mite proof mattresses, pillows and pillowcases. Wash linens with hot (over 130° F) water to kill all the dust mites. Dry bedding in dryer with the temperature turned up to the max.
Keep the humidity low. If you live in a humid area, invest in a dehumidifier. High humidity helps dust mites thrive and reproduce. A study by Department of Biological Sciences at Wright State University showed that if the humidity is lower than 51%, dust mites don’t get sufficient hydration and die.
Closely watch the moisture levels in your bathrooms and kitchen. Deal with all the leaks in a timely manner.
If your child is prone to dust allergies, keep the number of soft and plush toys to the minimum.
Curtains and bed covers are the lead dust collectors. Clean them on a regular basis.
Keep pets outdoors. If it’s not possible try to reduce contact with them as much as possible.
Fight Dust Mites In The Air
HEPA filters are specifically designed to deal with a number of allergens, including dust mites. They catch the allergens in the air and trap them. If dust mites trigger your asthma, you need to invest in several devices with HEPA filters, including vacuum cleaners and air purifiers.
Good Air Purifiers like the Winix 5500-2 are great at tackling airbourne allergens. These appliances come in all shapes and sizes. They can be portable for individual use and stationary for cleaning large areas. Investing in one of these devices for the home and office can substantially reduce or fully eliminate dust mite allergy symptoms. Some of them are specifically designed to pay special attention to dust mites.
Use Over-The-Counter Meds
Another great method to control symptoms is through the use of over-the-counter medications, such as:
Antihistamines to relieve watery eyes, runny nose, and itching
Decongestants to help with a stuffy nose
Nasal steroids to reduce swelling over time and help you breathe better
If you do have an asthma problem and are suffering from dust mite allergy symptoms for the first time, it’s important to contact your doctor since it can very well lead to a full blown asthma attack.
Don’t self-prescribe yourself any medication even if it helped your spouse, neighbor or coworker. Each person is different and requires a unique approach. In extreme cases, a doctor can also prescribe an allergy shot, which can keep you allergy-free for an extended period.
Dust mite allergy and asthma go hand in hand unfortunately, however many different solutions exist to keep the symptoms at bay. The main one is prevention. Follow the above tips to keep your environment as dust mite free as possible and you will be well on your way to controlling the problem.