With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Falcone, MD (University)
As the long months of extended time indoors continue, you may have noticed you’ve been sneezing and sniffling a lot. It seems like you're allergic to something, but how can that be if you never go outside? One possible answer? Dust mite allergies.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites, the most common cause of dust allergies, are tiny insects related to ticks and spiders that are too small to see with the naked eye. Dust mites eat dead skin cells and live in places like bedding, furniture, and carpeting. They thrive in warm, humid environments.
Allergy sufferers are actually allergic to dust mite excrement, CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Falcone, MD, said.
What are the symptoms of dust allergies?
Dust allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy noses, itchy or watery eyes, wheezing and coughing, and itching.
How can I keep dust mites out of my home?
Dusting can help, of course, but even if you don’t have visible dust in your house, you may still have mites. So, more stringent tactics may be necessary.
Removing carpeting, especially in your bedrooms, is a good first step. Running a HEPA filter in your bedrooms can remove the allergens from the air. Using a vacuum with its own HEPA filter also helps. You should also cover mattresses and pillows in mite-proof cases and wash all bedding in hot water weekly. Remember, it can take dust up to two hours to settle after cleaning, so avoid dusting bedrooms at night.
Keeping your humidity low is also helpful. Just be cautious that your air doesn’t get too dry, or you may cause yourself dry eye or nosebleeds. A humidity level of about 50 percent is ideal.
How can I treat dust allergies?
An ENT doctor, like those at CEENTA, will test you to determine the exact cause of your allergies. If the prognosis is dust mites, you could have any number of treatments available to you, depending on the severity of your allergies. These could range from over-the-counter medicines to immunotherapy.
Don’t let dust mites make time indoors a challenge. Follow these tips and make the problems they cause as tiny to you as they are.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. New patients can make appointment online with Dr. Falcone or any of our more than 40 ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. Current patients can also make appointments through myCEENTAchart with physicians they have already seen.