What Are House Dust Mites?

House Dust Mites

House dust mites are microscopic arachnids which live in human environments containing dust.  At around .25mm in length they are not visible to the human eye, making them particularly difficult to identify and remove.  They live anywhere where dust collects, meaning cool, damp homes are particularly susceptible.  For most people without an allergy, dust mites are completely harmless.  They don’t itch, bite, sting or buzz and although you are potentially living and sleeping next to thousands of the microscopic creatures, they cause no ill effects whatsoever.  If however you are one of the millions of people who cannot tolerate the droppings the mites leave behind, it can have a serious effect on your quality of life.

Microscopic house dust mites are invisible to the naked eye.

If you find yourself sneezing, itching or wheezing when dust is disturbed you may well be one of the thousands of people who suffer from allergy to house dust mite.  To find out for certain whether you, or a family member, does have this allergy you will need to perform a skin prick or patch test, so speak to your GP or physician.  It’s important to use a legitimate, medical test which will give a clear indication regarding your trigger substances.

There are a number of ‘alternative’ allergy testing procedures on the market, such as ‘vega‘ testing, but these have little to no basis in scientific fact. Believe me, I’ve tried and it’s total pseudo-science. The skin prick test, however, involves injecting small amounts of allergen under the skin, is reliable and gives instant results and clarity.  It might be useful to self-diagnose yourself in the short term, with a view to visiting your doctor or pharmacist.  Once you have confirmation of an allergy to house dust mites, and indeed any other allergens, you can then take the steps necessary to combat the allergy, with confidence you are not wasting your time.

The Skin Prick test gives instant confirmation of allergy.

 House dust mites usually trigger symptoms in sufferers in the mornings, as the bedroom, and the bed itself, are the main source of the allergen.  Do you wake up with red, itchy eyes, sneezing or with large dark circles under your eyes?  This isn’t normal, and you don’t have to put up with it.  It may well be an allergy to house dust mite, and you can start today in tackling these symptoms.

 Dust Allergy Illness

 House dust mites are one of the most common causes of skin and respiratory illness among adults. Suffers can experience year round, perennial symptoms and with dust being relatively difficult to remove from the home, this can lead to a greatly reduced quality of life for many people.

Common illnesses relating to the exposure to house dust mite are eczema, blocked sinuses, asthma and perennial allergic rhinitis, the same as which is experienced during hay fever  This can lead to taking large amounts of prescription medication to constantly keep the symptoms at bay.

It may involve lathering on large amounts of aqueous cream to keep eczema under control, or taking constant painkillers for headaches and sinus related pressure.  There are a number of useful resources in our reading list for allergy sufferers to help avoid and combat symptoms.

One of the most annoying and debilitating reactions to dust is the inflammation of the sinuses.  It’s one thing having an itchy patch of skin on your leg, but when your head, eyes and nose are clogged up and not working your entire day, and even career, can be blighted.  People with this condition are said to be suffering from sinusitis.

More information can be found on our sinuses pages.  Getting sinus pain under control is one of the most important challenges sufferers face, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The first hurdle is to understand what sinuses are and what happens when they become inflamed.

As well as the dedicated sinus page, there will be a number of posts specifically on combating blocked and inflamed sinuses.  So keep reading.  I guarantee tackling your sinus pressure will have an enormous effect on your symptoms.

  My doctor once told me, following probably the third of fourth visit to him that year complaining about my sinuses and my eczema, that I should just give up and move to live by the sea.  Apparently house dust mites aren’t fond of the sea air.   Now I know what you’re thinking, this was a ludicrous suggestion for numerous reasons.  Firstly, although sea air may help general asthma sufferers, there is no known link between sea air and dust mites in the home.

There is a huge benefit in living in a warmer, drier climate, but living in Britain this is unrealistic.  The meeting did however focus my mind on the necessity to strive to avoid the allergen itself, rather than constantly taking medication to address the symptoms.

Aside from the cost, constant medicating can be painful, annoying, time consuming and embarrassing, not to mention the potential side effects.  It is without question more beneficial to focus on understanding and controlling the dust, and therefore the dust mites themselves.

Dust In the Home

 It’s virtually impossible for an adult to never come into contact with house dust mite, however there are a number of changes you can make immediately to improve your quality of life.  Avoiding house dust mite is a constant battle, but it’s all about habits.  Once you have found your rhythm and your cleaning and bathing schedule comes naturally it becomes much less of a challenge.

To be successful, you need to be prepared to make a number of drastic changes.  This doesn’t have to mean being any less comfortable, clean or happy.  It just means that old bed you’ve had for years, and really love might have to go.  If you are a dust allergy sufferer though, changes such as this should start to yield almost instant results.  And if this means being brighter, less itchy and more relaxed in the day, can you honestly say it wasn’t worth throwing out that old bed and replacing it with something smart, fresh and dust mite proof?

  There are a number of resources on Dustblog that will help you understand what changes you need to make, and where you can go for the products that are right for you.  As with everything, it’s not about buying the most expensive or shiniest products on the market.  It’s about managing your house the way that’s right for you.

For those allergic to house dust mites, the goal must always to keep the allergen away from you, and to reduce and negate your symptoms, rather than just buying things that give the illusion of success, but don’t do anything.  With this in mind, if a relative is giving away an old waterbed, which potentially has huge success in preventing exposure to dust, then go for it.  Who cares if it’s second hand?  If it’s comfortable, and completely dust free you’re going to be the happiest woman or man on the planet.  You’re going to skip into work each morning and your bank balance will thank you for it as well.

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