House dust mites have been shown to be important sources of indoor allergens associated with asthma and other allergic conditions. Still, most people do not know about their existence, and perhaps those who know are not aware that these tiny creatures exist everywhere. For most people they are harmless; however, house dust mites are the reason why millions of Americans sneeze when they wake up in the morning, or they develop a mild skin rash now and then. For people with asthma, dust mites get more serious as the substances they produce can worsen the symptoms.
Research on the biology of dust mites has shown that they thrive mainly in humid, warm environments and that is why they can be found in beds, carpets, and fabric items. These microorganisms like the same areas that humans prefer. Many questions arise. Is it possible to avoid them? What can be done at home to minimize the exposure to them and the appearance of allergic symptoms?
Everybody knows that a dust-free house is an impossible task but there are preventive measures to minimize the symptoms of house dust mite allergy. Allergists recommend allergic people to stay away as much as possible from dust sources and dust mite habitats, and maintain their houses free of those items that can accumulate dust and the products of dust mites. Carpets, curtains, and similar items must be avoided. Other recommendations include washing linens frequently with hot water, encasing mattresses in a hypoallergenic cover, good ventilation and sunlight exposure in all rooms. Household chores such as vacuuming and sweeping can trigger the allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of house dust mite allergy such as sneezing, itchy and/or watery eyes, runny and stuffy nose, are also common in other types of allergy or conditions. Therefore, the best way to know if a person suffers from allergy to house dust mites is to visit an allergist to get the proper diagnostic tests. More information and advice about dust mite allergy and house dust allergy caused by other allergenic substances is provided by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
House dust mites are not enemies; in fact, they are ‘cleaners’ at home because they feed from human dead skin cells and organic materials found around the house. Like other innocuous microorganisms, they are just trying to survive in this world. They are here to stay, so what is left to do than adapt to living with them?