Dust Allergies Decoded
What is Dust?
Dust exists no matter where you go, despite your best attempts to remove it from your home and surroundings. As a result, your dust allergies may cause you to cough and sneeze all year long. The best you can do to protect yourself is to understand what dust is and figure out how best to minimize it in the spaces where so you spend the most time.
When you have a dust allergy, it can help to know that there are actually two types of dust that exist in your home. First, there are dust mites, which are microscopic bugs that feed on the flakes of human skin. Although you can't see them, dust mites burrow in bedding, curtains and soft toys. The waste product that they produce is an allergen and this is what usually sparks an allergic reaction.
Then there's also household dust, which is what gathers beneath your furniture and behind your doors. When people question what dust is, they are usually referring to this type. Household dust is a compilation of a wide variety of common household items. In fact, if you were to explore a dust ball beneath a microscope, you would find tiny particles of many things, including bits of skin, hair, fabric fibers, paper, pollen, mold and fungi. You would also find dust mites and their waste products in it.
It is also important to remember that the composition of dust can vary depending on the season. This means that during high allergy times, you'll probably have more pollen and mold in your dust, and if you're sensitive to these triggers, your allergies may seem considerably worse.
Many people mistakenly assume that the presence of dust is in some way is a reflection of the cleanliness of your home. However, every house is filled with dust and dust mites, and no amount of cleaning can keep them from coming back. But you can take some steps to keep your exposure to a minimum.
The best way to minimize the discomfort of a dust or dust mite allergy is to allergy-proof your bedroom, since this is where you likely spend the most time and are apt to be the most bothered by your symptoms. Please review the following tips to help keep your dust allergy under control.
- Remove carpeting, rugs, stuffed animals and other soft toys where dust mites will collect.
- Allergy-proof your bed by using hypoallergenic covers on your pillows and mattress to trap dust mites in.
- Wash your sheets and bedding in very hot water weekly or more often.
- Vacuum and dust regularly.
- Avoid books, pictures and other knick-knacks that can be dust collectors.
You should also pay attention to your symptoms. If you find dust or dust mites are getting the best of you, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying some of the latest allergy medicines to help you feel better.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)
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