Dust mites are microscopic creatures that feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and animals. They live in warm, humid places like bedding and carpets, and can be found in both indoor and outdoor environments. A dust mite allergy is an adverse reaction to these microscopic creatures. Dust mite allergies can cause sneezing, congestion, red eyes, rashes and other allergic reactions.
The most common symptoms of a dust mite allergy include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, a sore throat, and an itchy, irritated or red skin rash. Some individuals may also experience headaches, fatigue and difficulty breathing. Symptoms usually develop slowly and persist over time.
A doctor can diagnose a dust mite allergy by performing a skin-prick test or by performing an IgE blood test. In some cases, additional tests may be done to rule out other potential causes. The most common treatment for dust mite allergies are antihistamines, which block the action of histamines that cause allergic reactions. In some cases, a doctor may also prescribe corticosteroid creams or lotions to reduce inflammation.
It may be impossible to completely eliminate dust mites from indoor environments, but there are things you can do to reduce the number of dust mites in your home. Regularly wash bedding and other linens in hot water and avoid using dusty cleaning products. Vacuum carpets and furniture often and use a HEPA filter vacuum to reduce dust mites in carpets and fabrics. Additionally, use a damp cloth or mop to clean surfaces in your home, instead of a dry cloth. Ensuring good ventilation and keeping indoor humidity levels below 50% can help reduce dust mites and the allergens they produce.
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