Dust. It’s everywhere and eliminating it is elusive. How do we get it to stop triggering our allergies or asthma? House dust allergies are extremely common and, even if you have a clean home, dust can still be a problem. It’s also a major cause of year-round allergy symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, itchy and/or watery eyes and sneezing. It can also cause people with asthma to experience wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Since dust is at the root of so many people’s allergy and asthma symptoms we think it’s a good thing to learn a little more about.
What causes dust allergies?
House dust is a mixture of many substances. Its content varies from home to home, depending on the type of furniture, building materials, presence of pets, moisture and other factors. Some of the dust is so fine that it remains in the air and it’s this very fine dust that you inhale.
One speck of dust can contain fabric fibers, human skin particles, animal dander, microscopic creatures called mites, bacteria, parts of cockroaches, mold spores, food particles and other debris. Of these, animal dander, dust mites and cockroaches are the most common causes of allergic reaction. A person can be allergic to one or more of these substances, and, when they are exposed to dust by breathing it in they have an allergic reaction.
Is dust allergy a sign of a dirty house?
No. While a dirty house can make a house-dust allergy problem worse, normal housekeeping procedures may not be enough to get rid your house of dust allergens. This is because many of the substances in dust cannot be removed by normal cleaning procedures.
For example, no matter how thoroughly you dust or vacuum, you will not reduce the number of dust mites present deep within carpeting, pillows, mattresses and furniture. Vigorous cleaning methods can also put more dust into the air making symptoms briefly worse. Check out these tips for controlling dust in your home.
What are dust mites?
Tiny microscopic creatures called dust mites are an important cause of allergic reactions to house dust. They belong to the family of eight-legged creatures called arachnids. This family also includes spiders, chiggers, and ticks.
Dust mites are hardy creatures that live well and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70°F with a relative humidity of 75-80% and die when they humidity falls below 40-50%. They are rarely found in dry climates.
“AAFA.” Dust Mite Allergy. AAFA, 1 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 June 2016.
“Dust Allergy.” ACAAI. ACAAI, 1 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 June 2016.