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Comprehensive Guide to Dust Mite Allergy Relief

Introduction to Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mite allergies are a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in household dust, feeding on dead skin cells and other indoor allergens. They thrive in warm, humid environments, such as bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets[4][5]. This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for dust mite allergies.

What are Dust Mites?

Tiny bugs that live in household dust are known as dust mites. They can thrive in warm, humid environments, house dust, upholstered furniture, carpets, and bedding. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and pets[4][5].

Dust Mite Allergy and Allergic Rhinitis

Dust mite allergy is a common allergic rhinitis known as hay fever. When a person with a dust mite allergy comes into contact with dust mite allergens, their immune system reacts, causing allergy symptoms[4][5].

Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms

Dust mite allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain

A severe dust mite allergy can sometimes lead to asthma symptoms or exacerbate existing asthma[4][5].

Causes of Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mite proteins, such as Der p 1 and Der f 1, found in dust mite faeces, cause a dust mite allergy when exposed. As their immune system produces antibodies against these allergens, it triggers allergic reactions, such as inflammation of nasal passages or lungs[5].

How Dust Mite Allergens Affect the Immune System

In susceptible individuals, dust mite allergens can cause the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. The immune system may react more strongly upon reencountering these allergens, leading to allergy symptoms[5].

Diagnosis of Dust Mite Allergy

Allergy Skin Test

An allergist can confirm the diagnosis of a dust mite allergy by performing a skin prick test if you suspect it. They will apply a small amount of dust mite extract to your skin and observe any allergic reaction. A positive response will appear as a raised, red, itchy bump (called a wheal), and the severity of the response will indicate sensitivity to the allergen[5].

Blood Test

To diagnose a dust mite allergy, a blood test can measure the levels of specific IgE antibodies in response to dust mite allergens[5].

Dust Mite Allergy Treatment

Allergy Medications

There are several prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications available to relieve symptoms of a dust mite allergy, including:

  • Antihistamines to reduce allergic reactions
  • Nasal corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in nasal passages
  • Decongestants to relieve stuffy nose
  • Leukotriene modifiers, such as the allergy drug montelukast, reduce allergic reactions

Allergy Shots and Immunotherapy

Allergy shots, also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT), can help reduce sensitivity to dust mite allergens. The treatment involves receiving regular injections containing small amounts of dust mite allergens, which can help desensitise the immune system to these allergens. Alternative treatment options like sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) involve placing a tablet containing dust mite allergens under the tongue.

Prevention and Management of Dust Mite Allergy

Reducing exposure

Limiting exposure to dust mites is the best way to prevent dust mite allergies. Here are some tips to help keep dust mite populations under control:

  • Use allergen-proof bed covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows
  • Wash bedding, washable stuffed toys, and rugs in hot water at least once a week
  • Vacuum regularly with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
  • Dust surfaces with a damp cloth
  • Replace upholstered furniture with non-upholstered alternatives

Controlling Indoor Allergens and Humidity

  • Maintain a relative humidity below 50% by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner
  • Remove carpets and rugs from bedrooms and replace them with hard flooring or low-pile carpet
  • Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to remove dust mite allergens and other indoor allergens from the air
  • Please limit the number of indoor plants, as they can increase humidity and provide a breeding ground for mould

Alternative Dust Mite Control Methods

Eucalyptus Spray

Eucalyptus spray can repel dust mites and other bugs. To make a eucalyptus spray:

  1. Mix two cups of distilled water with two tablespoons of tea tree oil and two tablespoons of eucalyptus oil.
  2. Pour the concoction into a dark spray bottle to prevent rendering the oils ineffective.
  3. Spray liberally on your bed, pillows, and furniture.

Eucalyptus oil is generally considered safe but can cause skin irritation and an allergic reaction.

UV Light and UV Vacuums

Researchers have shown that UV light can kill dust mites and other microorganisms that can cause allergies. UV light devices, such as a handheld wand, a robotic vacuum cleaner, or a standalone air purifier, can be utilised for this purpose. However, it is crucial to note that prolonged exposure to UV light can harm humans. Therefore, following the manufacturer's instructions when using UV light devices is essential.

UV vacuums are specialised vacuum cleaners that kill dust mites and other microscopic organisms while vacuuming. They can help reduce dust mite populations in carpeting and other fabrics, and it is essential to use these devices as directed to ensure their effectiveness.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning may help kill dust mites and remove allergens from carpets and other fabrics. Steam cleaners use high-temperature steam to clean and sanitise surfaces, which may help kill dust mites and remove allergens. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using steam cleaners.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

  • Take allergy medications as prescribed by your doctor to help prevent symptoms.
  • Consult an allergist to determine if allergy shots or other immunotherapy treatments suit your situation.
  • Keep windows closed during high pollen seasons to reduce the number of outdoor allergens entering your home.

Dust Mite Allergy and Mental Health

The symptoms of a dust mite allergy can negatively impact a person's mental health. Chronic congestion, difficulty sleeping, and constant discomfort can lead to irritability, anxiety, and depression. Addressing the physical and emotional aspects of living with a dust mite allergy is essential.

Allergy Foundation and Support

Seeking guidance and support from allergy foundations and organisations can provide valuable information and resources for individuals living with dust mites and other allergies. These organisations may offer educational materials, support groups, and advocacy opportunities to help improve the quality of life for people with allergies.

Some reputable allergy organisations include:


Dust mite allergies can be a significant source of discomfort for those affected. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals with dust mite allergies can better manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life. Reducing exposure to dust mites, using appropriate allergy medications, and seeking support from allergy organisations can help alleviate symptoms and enhance well-being.