It’s Allergy Awareness Week! As the weather gets warmer, you have a whole host of new allergens to contend with. Not only does hay fever start to rear its ugly head around this time of year, but pesky dust mites can find their way into your home, causing dust allergies that can really disrupt your sleep. Dust mites can be a problem the whole year round, but they prefer warm, humid environments, and a dust allergy can make other allergy symptoms, including hay fever symptoms, much worse.
So, what exactly are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic bugs, about 0.2mm long, that make up part of household dust. They live off dead skin flakes and they and their waste are a major cause of allergies, although they are otherwise harmless.
How can you tell if you might have a dust mite problem?
You can look out for the typical allergy symptoms: itchy skin, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, a blocked nose, or red, watery eyes. If there are no other obvious allergens around the house, any combination of these symptoms may well be caused by dust mites.
What might make a dust mite problem worse?
The more soft furnishings you have in your house, the more places for dust mites to thrive. Dust mites live off dead skin, so animal dander is likely to increase the problem. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of your comfy sofa cushions, and certainly not that you should show Fluffy the door, but it may mean you need to be even more on the ball about cleaning in order to keep dust mites away.
How should you handle dust mites?
Dust mites are all but impossible to completely get rid of, but you can certainly do things to decrease the amount of dust mites in your home and to ensure that your soft furnishings, including your bed, is a less friendly environment for them. Changing your bedding regularly, airing the house, and not only vacuuming your floors but frequently going over your furniture with an upholstery attachment are just some of the ways you can keep dust mites away. You can read about how to rid your house of dust mites in more detail here.