Do you find you’re overcome by the need to itch after sweeping the floor? Does your eczema flare up if you have to poke around in dusty old cupboards?
If you’re experiencing symptoms similar to hayfever, asthma and eczema you could be allergic to the components of dust.
So what’s going on here? We take a look at the body’s reactions to dust and what you can do about it!
What are the symptoms of a dust allergy?
- Sneezing, itchy throat or mouth
- Inflamed skin
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, itchy, streaming or swollen eyes
- Breathing issues: wheezing, shortness of breath, tight chest, coughing
What might be causing the reaction?
There are a number of things that make up dust, any one of which could be causing your body to react against it. These include:
- Dust mites
- Pet hair
But the mostly likely culprits are dust mites. Dust mites are found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting, throws, cushions and upholstered furniture. They get disturbed and thrown into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet, moves a cushion, sits on a sofa or shakes out the bedding. It’s not bites but the proteins in dust mite debris that trigger inflammatory responses in those who are allergic to them.
What can be done?
Strategies for managing a dust allergy can end up being pretty radical and costly, demanding big changes to your home environment and your lifestyle. But once done, they should make a real difference to your daily wellbeing.
- Ask your GP for a referral for allergy testing
- Remove fabrics such as throws and cushions from the living room and bedroom
- Choose wooden or laminate floors rather than carpets
- Change fabric curtains for easily-wipeable blinds
- Change fabric sofas for leather or synthetic ones
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
- Install an air purifier with a HEPA filter
- Keep your furry friends out of the bedroom - and possibly out of the house altogether Use “mite-proof” cases on mattresses and pillows
- Wash bed linen and cushion covers weekly at hot temperatures
- Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning
- Keep the relative humidity in your home less than 50% with a dehumidifier
- Keep skin well moisturised so its barrier function is strong and healthy
- Apply Skin Salvation around noses and eyes as a barrier to prevent mite particles entering the body as well as to protect the skin around streaming eyes and noses
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.