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If you’ve recently been diagnosed with dust mite allergy then you’re probably searching for the best ways to protect yourself from dust mites. Dust mite allergy is an increasing problem in developed countries.
Allergies usually begin to emerge in childhood, but can appear at anytime in life. There are various theories for the allergy, however, the most common are:
- Better hygiene
- Less exposure to microbes and sanitary environment
- Spending more time inside and the immune system isn’t exposed to the environment
- Increased/overuse of antibiotics which disrupt the body’s ecosystem
- Antibiotics, chemicals, and hormones in the food we ingest
Dust mite allergy symptoms manifest in different ways, depending on the individual. For some people, they are born with allergies. For others, the symptoms develop over time, either improving or gradually getting worse.
Possible symptoms for dust mite allergy are:
- Itchy skin, nose, ears
- Rashes, contact dermatitis
In this article, I’ll share the best ways to protect yourself from dust mites. These methods are for people who already have allergies, but you can also take preventative action.
My Allergies and How I Protect Myself From Dust Mites
In 2013 I was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe dust mite allergy. I experienced symptoms for a long time but I didn’t know what was causing me to feel terrible. When I was young my body was resilient, and although I had symptoms it didn’t keep me from being active.
I played sports, hung out with friends, and socialized.
After university, I began to withdraw myself from activities. I felt tired all the time, even after 12 hours of sleep.
Rashes developed all over my body, my skin itched, and my eyes and nose were red. I even encountered ear problems (eczema inside my ear). I visited doctor after doctor but none suggested I get an allergy test.
It wasn’t until many years later, and after much suffering, did I go to an allergist. When the allergist saw me he said: “Yep, you definitely have allergies”. I felt relief and fear at the same time and wondered if my allergies could be improved.
After being tested and having countless consultations with my allergist, I made a number of lifestyle changes to reduce my exposure to dust mites. I also began getting allergy shots which inject allergens into my body.
Over time the goal is that my body realizes the substance is harmless and stops reacting.
Below I’ll mention the most practical steps you can take to protect yourself from dust mites. The great thing about my list is that all actions are natural without chemicals or expensive drugs.
Implementing some of these practices, or all of them, should result in immediate benefits to your health. I recommend focusing on the bedroom, specifically the bedding.
The 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Dust Mites
1. Air Flow and Sunlight
Keep indoor air dry and circulating. Fresh air from outside is best, but if you also have pollen allergies you’ll need to be careful.
Dust mites love moisture and humidity. They also love dark areas away from sunlight. Sunlight helps dry out beds, carpets, rugs, and couches.
If you live in a humid area, pay attention to air circulation. You should consider a dehumidifier in the summer, otherwise humid conditions could encourage rapid reproduction for dust mites.
A large dehumidifier in the basement can help keep a house at an ideal humidity range and you’ll be surprised at how much liquid it collects (we reviewed dehumidifiers here).Using a fan or HVAC is usually a good idea to help with airflow, but what I’ve discovered is fans blow dust mites off the ground and into the air. Once dust mites are suspended in air, they can enter our airways and make us cough, sneeze, or make our eyes itch.
Once airborne, it may take hours for dust mites and their fecal matter to slowly return to the ground. I prefer not using fans, otherwise, my skin dries out and my nose gets congested.
If you’re using an HVAC in summer or winter, I strongly recommend using Filtrete’s allergen filters. These filters are thick and capture dust mites, pollen, odors, and smoke.
If your household has been buying the cheapest HVAC filters, they are likely just blowing around dust. If you’re allergic make sure you buy quality allergy grade filters and change them regularly.
Don’t take my word for it, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Yuck!
In combination with high-quality allergy HVAC filters, I also suggest a HEPA air purifier. Air purifiers have come a long way in the past decade and can clean indoor air multiple times in a day.
The best air purifiers have lifetime warranties and are meant to be used all day, every day.
2. Cover Your Pillow, Mattress, and Blankets
This might be the most important thing you do. Use dust mite proof covers on your bed. Most people experience dust mite allergy while they are sleeping. People wake up tired (lack of good sleep) because their nose is congested, their eyes are puffy too. If you wake up feeling these things try a pillow, mattress, and blanket covers.
They were an essential step in improving my allergies.
I travel a lot for work and I can tell when I’m not sleeping in my bed. I even take a dust mite proof pillow cover with me on the road. They are easy to slip on before sleeping and save my face from being swollen (The Best Dust Mite Mattress Covers Reviewed).
They are relatively inexpensive and can make drastic improvements in your sleep health. For years I thought I had sleep apnea, but in reality, it was a much less serious dust mite allergy.
After I visited an allergist, we discovered the problem and my dust mite proof covers have virtually eliminated my bedroom symptoms.
There are good quality covers and poor quality covers so be mindful when you purchase. The cheapest covers are actually plastic and can cause sweating. Better quality covers are tightly weaved and keep out allergens while allowing your skin to breathe against the fabric.
3. Wash and Clean Regularly To Kill Dust Mites
Vacuuming is a regular chore in any household and a great way to protect yourself from dust mites. If you are an allergy sufferer you should be vacuuming often. Vacuuming 1 time each week must be done if you have carpets because carpet catch and hold onto dust and dirt.
If you can get rid of carpets and substitute them for wood, tile, or linoleum flooring that’s your best option. As a bonus, hard floors will make cleaning much easier.
If stuck with carpets, use a high-quality HEPA vacuum. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance and captures the smallest of particles from the floor.
Ordinary vacuums will just blow dust mites (and their feces) around the house, potentially making allergies worse.
Dyson makes excellent vacuums that hare high quality. They cost a little more than other options but are more than worth it for people who have allergies. The photo above is my family’s Dyson HEPA vacuums. We love them.
Washing blankets and bedding weekly is also necessary to combat dust mite allergy. Washing will not only get rid of dust mites and their larvae, but also get rid of dust mite food (human skin flakes).
You can read about the “Best Ways to Wash Bedding”. Make sure you use essential oils to really kill the dust mites – the essential oil will also be an organic laundry freshener!
If not using essential oil you must wash at extremely high temperatures to kill dust mites and their larvae.
4. Reduce Animal Presence Indoors
Another way to protect yourself from dust mites is to reduce animal/pet presence inside. I know this is hard for most people, if not impossible, but animals also shed skin and lots of hair.
In fact, many animals are also becoming allergic to dust mites (odd right?).
If you have animals inside they will no-doubt be a contributor to the dust mite population. And if your allergy symptoms are strong enough, you might want to consider keeping your pets outside.
Many people who have dust mite allergy are also allergic to animals. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to reconsider having pets or get use to feeling uncomfortable.
At a minimum, regularly clean the area your pet sleeps. Most HEPA vacuums and HEPA air purifiers work great for pet allergies as well as dust mites. Their use is even more important if you have pets!
5. Use Dust Mite Sprays with Natural Essential Oils
Our last way to protect from dust mites is to use sprays. Here at Dust Mite Solutions,
I only recommend organic sprays. For me, chemicals inside the house are a big no-no as they will likely cause additional allergy symptoms or sensitivities.
If you have allergies, consider storing cleaning chemicals outside or in the garage. Many people keep them inside the home, but no one really knows the long-term effects those chemicals have on our indoor air and our bodies.
In another article, I recommend a few dust mite sprays, but your best bet is to make an affordable, 100% organic DIY dust mite spray. The ingredients are minimal and will make multiple batches of household spray that is safe for you and your family.
The essential oils will kill the dust mites that are on the outer layers of couches, carpets, and beds. Check out the blog article with the instructions below!
Dust mite allergy is an increasing problem in the world. Even though the exact cause of allergies isn’t known, scientists believe it has to do with a more urban lifestyle and cleanliness (possibly pollution and chemicals too).
It is important allergic individuals take steps to protect themselves from dust mites. Even if you aren’t allergic, you may have a sensitivity or just want a more hygienic home.
In this article, I shared 5 protective actions: Air Flow and Sunlight (air filters and purifiers), Covers, Cleaning and Washing, Reducing Animal Presence, and DIY Dust Mite Sprays. Employing these strategies will not solve your dust mite allergy, however, they will likely improve your quality of life.
The two things I’m happiest with are my indoor air quality from air filters/purifiers, and my bed hygiene so I don’t sleep near dust mites any longer.
Being proactive with younger children is also a wise move to decrease to opportunity for allergies to occur. Take it from me and my experience – I waited too long and my allergies became worse over time. I suffered for years before understanding the disease and making these simple lifestyle changes. Now I am able to easily manage my allergy and reduce any exposure to dust mites when I’m home
Thanks for joining us for the 5 best ways to protect yourself from dust mites. For more dust mite reviews and products, visit us today at Dust Mite Solutions where we share personal allergy experience, helpful tips, and review the best allergy-related products on the market.