If you're one of the millions of Americans who suffer from dust mite allergies, then you know just how miserable they can be. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that feed off dust and moisture in the air. These pests thrive in warm, humid environments and cause allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and runny nose. They can also trigger asthma attacks and reactions like eczema and hives.
Dust mite allergens can be found in mattresses, pillows, carpeting, and furniture—they become airborne whenever someone walks across the carpet, vacuums, or disturbs any bedding. Unsure if you're suffering from a dust mite allergy or something else? The quickest way to discover allergens that cause you symptoms is by taking an at-home allergy test.
The best way to alleviate a dust allergy is through prevention. Here are five essential tips to remove dust mites from your home so you can finally get some relief.
Clean Your Bedding
Dust mites love to hide in pillowcases, sheets, and blankets. To prevent them from setting up camp in your bedding, wash your linens in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) every week. Dust mites are killed when exposed to temperatures above 130 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's important to use the hottest water possible.
You can also use dust mite-proof covers for your mattress, pillows, and comforter. These special covers create a barrier that dust mites can't penetrate, and they're an effective way to keep dust mites away from your skin while you sleep. Allergen-proof bed covers are often made from vinyl or plastic and easily zip and unzip across mattresses and pillows. They’re also simple to clean.
Invest in a Humidifier
A humidifier may seem counterintuitive because dust mites thrive in high humidity. But humidity can also soothe irritating dust allergy symptoms. The trick is to keep the humidity in your home below 50 percent. It’ll create an environment that helps you while also making it inhospitable for dust mites.
A whole-house humidifier is the best way to keep your home at the ideal humidity level. These devices attach to your furnace and work with your HVAC system to evenly distribute moisture throughout your home. Some whole-house humidifiers also come with features that make them easy to control, like automatic shut-off and digital displays that show the humidity level in your home.
Use a Wet Vacuum
If you haven't tried it already, consider vacuuming regularly with a wet vacuum. Dry vacuuming only stirs up dust and causes shortness of breath in people who are highly allergic. Wet-vacuuming is more effective because it uses water to lift dust and dust mites from the carpet fibers.
If you can't invest in a wet vacuum, try switching to a vacuum with a HEPA filter. A powerful vacuum with a HEPA filter can remove most dust mites from carpeting and upholstered furniture. Be sure to vacuum at least once a week to keep dust mite allergens at bay. And don't forget to empty the bag afterward so the dust mites don't end up back where they started.
Clean Your Home Weekly
Another way to prevent dust mite allergies is to clean your home regularly. Dust mites are attracted to dust, so it's important to keep your home as dust-free as possible. Wash your bedding, wet vacuum, or dry vacuum with a HEPA filter, clean the floors and furniture, and wipe surfaces with a damp cloth.
Dusting with a dry cloth stirs up dust and causes shortness of breath in people who are highly allergic. To prevent allergy reactions from cleaning, wear an N95 mask to block particles from entering your lungs.
Look for nooks and crannies where stubborn dust might collect, such as books, figurines, and under furniture. Keep these items clean and dust-free or get rid of them from the rooms you use most often.
If you have a dog or cat, cleaning more often will also help alleviate pet allergy symptoms.
Change Your Flooring
Carpeting is one of the dustiest places in your home, and it's also one of the most difficult to keep dust-free. If you have carpeting, consider replacing it with hardwood floors or tile for overall indoor allergy relief. These floors are much easier to clean and don't hold on to dust as carpet does.
Eliminate wall-to-wall carpeting and other textiles that aren't washable, like thick curtains and window coverings where dust can easily accumulate. House dust mites are frequently found in carpets and rugs, so removing these dust-catching home goods—if they're unwashable—may help relieve your dust mite allergy symptoms.
Dust Allergy Symptoms Don't Have to Rule Your Life
With these dust allergy prevention tips, you can take control of your dust mite allergies and improve the quality of your life. Here are a few additional tips recommended by allergists:
- Use an air purifier: Air purifiers can remove airborne allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander from the air in your home.
- Choose hypoallergenic bedding: Some types of bedding are less likely to attract dust mites than others. Look for hypoallergenic bedding made from dust mite-resistant materials like silk, bamboo, or eucalyptus.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom: If you're allergic to pet dander, it's best to keep your furry friends out of the bedroom so you can sleep through the night without symptoms.
If you've taken these steps and still find that dust mite allergies are ruling your life—that you're constantly taking antihistamines with no relief—it's time to try something different.
Long-Term Treatment for Dust Mite Allergies
Dust mites are everywhere and there will always be some in your home no matter how often or how thoroughly you clean. The good news is that there is a way to get rid of your allergy symptoms for long-term relief.
Immunotherapy is an allergy treatment that exposes your body to trace amounts of allergens so small that they don’t cause a reaction. Through repeated exposure, your immune system develops a tolerance to the allergen and stops causing an allergic reaction.
At Wyndly, our allergy specialists can help alleviate or reduce your dust allergy through this clinically-proven therapy delivered right to your door. Start by scheduling your initial consultation with one of our Wyndly allergy specialists and get an at-home allergy test kit for free. It’s time to break the cycle and find long-lasting allergy relief!