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If you have a dust mite allergy, you might wonder when the worst time of year is for dust mite symptoms. Could it be the spring, summer, autumn, or winter season? Or all of them? For many people suffering from dust mite allergy it probably seems like the suffering never stops.
I’ve had dust mite allergy for over 20 years and I’ll share my personal experience with seasonal and year-round dust mite allergy symptoms. I’ll also share general treatment advice that was given to me by allergist for winter and summer season symptoms..
Lastly, we’ll discuss a few ways to improve your health and reduce your dust mite exposure.
Seasonal Pollen Allergies and Year-Round Dust Mite Allergies
For many allergy sufferers, the a new season yields new allergy symptoms. To others, it may feel like one season is just as bad as another.
For example, tree pollen season usually corresponds with spring when the weather warms and trees emerge from dormancy and flower. Below shows when you might expect pollen allergy symptoms:
Spring – trees
Summer – grasses
Fall – weeds
Winter – relief!
But when is dust mite season? Well, it’s not that simple. Dust mites live around us, primarily in our homes. As a result they are less dependent on seasonality and more dependent on us!
Dust mite allergy is a unique allergy because they’re a living creature with short life spans. They need little water to survive (they absorb it through the air) and live off an endless supply of food that humans and pets produce on a daily basis.
Their food source is, yes you guessed it, dead skin.
Our home environment allows dust mites to thrive and multiply throughout the year. Believe it or not, you cannot see dust mites (don’t confuse dust mites with bed bugs).
They are microscopic, and their presence in your home is almost guaranteed.
If you’re not sure whether you have a dust mite allergy here is a simple but accurate tip:
If your symptoms are persistent all year, in every season, there’s a good chance it’s due to dust mites.
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms Can Be Depressing
As the case with most allergies, symptoms will differ from person to person. Dust mites will affect some people with rashes, hives, eczema. I also experienced watery eyes and a chronic cough.
Some people will develop asthma and others will feel fatigue from poor sleep due to a congested nose. What’s even worse is that untreated allergy symptoms can lead to even worse illness like sleep apnea.
Below are a few of the symptoms you might experience.
The fatigue I experienced was so bad I could barely get through a day, even after 10 hours of sleep! Thankfully I didn’t experience asthma, however many people do.
The Worst Time Of Year (Season) For Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
My Dust Mite Allergies Were Worst During 2 Seasons
Before I was tested for allergies, it was difficult for me to understand why I felt the way I did. I knew I was experiencing symptoms year-round, but I didn’t get it.
I had never heard of dust mites (and I assumed they were the same as bed bugs – they aren’t). Summer and Winter were the hardest for me and I expect it will be the same for you.
Dust mites thrive in summer. It’s the worst time of year for dust mite allergy because it combines warmth and moisture – two things that dust mites need. In humid areas like the American Mid-West, East, and South, summers can be miserable for people with dust mite allergy.
Humidity provides a lot of air moisture needed for dust mites to survive, and not only survive but thrive. Humid homes also make a great environment for indoor mold, another serious allergen. If you have a basement, you can likely feel the high humidity in the summer (I reviewed the best dehumidifiers to reduce humidity).
In the Western U.S., where summers are drier, dust mites don’t have access to as much moisture so allergic individuals should have fewer, more manageable symptoms. Summers are less of an issue for dust mites in places like Arizona, Nevada, and California.
So, who has allergies in the winter? People with dust mite allergy do! Winter dust mite allergies can be tough to determine. In the winter, homes usually have poor ventilation to maintain warmth. I lived in a home with carpeting throughout and forced-air heating.
The house was generally clean but carpets naturally trap dust and dirt and are notoriously difficult to clean. Even if you vacuum regularly with a special dust mite vacuum, a lot of dirt and dust will remain in carpets. For people with dust mite allergy, weekly vacuuming is mandatory.
In the winter my family would use the heater. I came to realize 2 things:
The forced (blowing) air was stirring up dust and causing allergy symptoms. It is a similar effect with a fan that actually stirs up dirt and dust as it blows air.
The vent filters that we used were poor quality and didn’t trap aeroallergens such as pollen, dust mites, or dander. The circulating air was actually making microscopic particles airborne and making my nose congested and eyes itchy. Pollen and dust mites, as well as dust mite feces, are so small and lightweight that they can be lifted in the air just by walking in the bedroom…plus they can be suspended in air for hours before settling.
Years later, my family began using high-quality allergy filters for the air conditioning and heating unit. We also removed all the carpeting in the house.
The hard flooring was so much easier to clean and the air was naturally filtered through the HVAC intake.
I noticed an improvement right away. And when I changed the high-quality filters I noticed they would be dark brown color (originally white). Our heating and air conditioning unit went from being a dust blower to a whole house air purifier.
These days I’m observant of fans and the overall cleanliness of a house. If a fan is blowing in a dusty house, I know my eyes will start itching rather quickly I also take a daily over-the-counter anti-histamine which helps reduce my reactions.
Anti-histamines work differently for each individual. For me, I get 24 relief from Allegra. I take the non-drowsy pills so I don’t get tired during the day (I wrote about the best allergy medication for dust mites). I’d prefer not to take daily medicine, but I do need it.
What about Spring and Autumn Seasons?
In spring and autumn my dust mite symptoms tended to reduce in severity. I believe it was because the outside temperature was pleasant so windows were open, humidity was low, and the ceiling fans and HVAC system weren’t being used.
Fresh air does wonders for indoor air circulation and pleasant temperatures don’t require fans or air conditioners. Once fans and air conditioners are used, dust mites are often blown airborne and can cause respiratory problems.
In Summer Consider These Actions to Protect From Dust Mites
Dust Mite Proof Bedding (covers)
Beds are the number 1 home to dust mites. Protect your mattresses and pillows with dust-mite-proof covers. We reviewed and recommended these mattress covers!
If you live in a humid environment think about purchasing a dehumidifier that can reduce indoor moisture levels. Dehumidifiers can help reduce the dust mite population and reduce mold growth, especially if you have a basement.
Newer air purifiers can do wonders for cleaning indoor air. HEPA technology filters, which pick up the smallest particulates from the air can clean a whole room in 2 hours. Air Purifiers are a great addition for allergic individuals. Keep one air purifier in each room!
Air Conditioning Filters
Replace your filters in the winter and summer and buy allergy filters that remove the finest of particulates from the air. Filtrete has some great allergy filters that not only keep out dust mites and allergens, but also odors, chemicals, and smoke (amazing).
Don’t Sweep, Use HEPA Vacuums!
Sweeping only stirs dust into the air and dust can stay suspended for hours, long after you’ve cleaned. HEPA filter vacuums suck in dust and capture it before air is released back into the room. HEPA vacuums work great for people with dust mite allergy and asthma.
During Winter Season Consider These Actions for Dust Mites
On nice winter days, open the windows or doors and allow some fresh air to enter your home. Even if its only for a few minutes it will. Without air circulation from outside the air quality in your home can be very poor.
Allergy HVAC Filters
Use filters that remove allergens from the air. Cheap filters will just trap large items.
Dust Mite Proof Bedding
Protect your mattresses and pillows with dust-mite-proof covers. Beds are the number 1 location of dust mites in your home.
Understanding what season your dust mite allergy will be at its worst is essential to know how to prepare and prevent annoying symptoms. Anticipating an increase in symptoms during winter and summer seasons can make your family’s quality of life much better.
We hope you enjoyed these tips on for “the worst time of year for dust mite allergy symptoms”. Visit Dust Mite Solutions for more reviews, recommendations, and products!