Dust mites aren’t only found in the home.

The battle to keep dust mites at bay is a constant one.  However once you’ve mastered the basics of keeping your home dust free, you should start to think about where else you are likely to come into contact with dust mites, and what you can do to avoid them. You may be doing everything right. You’re washing your bedding repeatedly at high temperatures. You’ve removed all your carpets and unwarranted furnishings. But you can’t seem to shake that eczema or the constant sneezing.

One thing that occurred to me recently was that my light bulb, yes the actual bulb above my bed was covered in dust, casually dispersing it all over me as I slept.  There was also an elaborate IKEA light shade over the bulb, which equally attracted a lot of dust.  I was genuinely annoyed with myself for having missed such an obvious, and harmful collection of dust but never mind.  It is a constant learning curve, after all.

This got me wondering though, what other places could hide dust that I hadn’t thought of. And straight away the office sprung to mind.  Although workplaces may look clean, there are a lot of cables, desks and furniture etc. and you’re also relying on the quality of your office cleaner. On closer inspection of my own work space I found thick dust had accumulated on sills, in air vents and around door frames.  Instead of being safe from dust during my working hours, I was in fact being exposed to huge amounts of it – possibly even more so than in my own home given the time I spend keeping it dust free.

If this sounds like your place of work, you need to clean it up immediately using the damp dusting method. Don’t assume, As I wrongly did, that dust mites are only found at home.  If this means using some of your own time to go over the spots the office cleaner has missed, so be it.  He or she is unlikely to have the time required to clean to a level a dust mite allergic really needs.

Since making my own improvements to my work environment however, I have noticed a significant improvement in all symptoms.  Itching, eczema and eye inflammation has all improved significantly.

In addition to works-spaces, people should also consider their car, particularly older cars. I suppose the importance of this increases, depending on whether you work in a vehicle, or spend long times in one on a daily commute.  I can well imagine the cab of truck or taxi being caked in dust, and causing all sorts of problems for the driver who spends hours in that confined environment.

It’s also worth considering anywhere else you visit overnight, such as a friends house, or a hotel or hostel. Is it worth sleeping over when you know how much mess they have?  There have been plenty of times when I’ve stayed somewhere I just know is going to be a nightmare for allergies, but have done it anyway, and paid the price the next day.

I honestly think a zero tolerance approach is the best solution. Any environment you will spend extended length of times could be a huge source of dust – so just don’t stay exposed to it for long periods of time.  If that means booking a hotel instead of taking the spare room in your friends house, then depending on your budget, it’s well worth the upgrade.  They might take some convincing but fellow allergy sufferers will understand the bliss of a calm, dust free nights sleep as opposed to waking up unrested with itchy, swollen eyes and out of control eczema.

So expand your thinking. It is of course important to pay most attention to your own home, but don’t discount other environments that could harbor dust mites, and could be the source of that nagging sinusitis you can’t get rid of.

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