Dust mites are microscopic pests commonly found in house dust. These tiny mites are close relative to spiders and ticks but are too small to be seen without a microscope. They are commonly located on carpets, upholstered furniture and mattress.
These tiny pests prefer a warm and humid environment. Males have a small life span of about 9-19 days, but females live up to 2 months and can lay approximately 100 eggs. Thus, dust mites are no doubt, fast breeders.
Do Dust Mite Bites?
No, dust mites don’t need to bite humans as they do not survive on human blood or cells, but feed dander and dead skin shed by humans and pets. As our skin always sheds dead skin cells, we provide these microscopic creatures with steady food supply. These insects do not have a mouth with teeth and are too small to bite humans. They can not even chew their food but secrete an enzyme to break down food.
But yes, dust mites may trigger allergy symptoms. In that case, you need to manage dust mites to alleviate and prevent asthma symptoms.
In just square meter of your mattress of carpet, thousands of mites can survive. Not only these tiny roommates feed on your dead skin cells but also suck moisture from the air. Dust mites are found at places where we are likely to spend most of our time such as bedroom, living room and even kitchen. Your mattress is their favourite place because it is warm, moist, and you shed enough dead skin cells for them while you sleep. Your pets sleeping place is also one of their potential homes.
These dust mites drop dropping say around 20 in a day, and their dropping contains allergens that may trigger atopic dermatitis. Even, the chemicals these microscopic creatures release to communicate with each other may trigger an allergic reaction. The remains of dead dust mites also acts as allergens.
Thus, one thing is clear that what is referred to as dust mite bites is actually allergic reaction caused by dust mite feces, dead bodies and chemicals released by them. The allergic reaction caused give rash and red itchy bumps.
But yes someday when you wake up and see small itchy bites on your skin, it also may be caused by bed bugs. Bed bugs are tiny, but they are visible. They are six-legged insects, red and brown with smooth body and antennae. They are mostly active during the night and loves to hide at places during day that are hardly used or touched, such as small cervices in the bedding or wooden bed. Bed bugs feed human blood. They actually bite you and leave specific markings on the skin surface. However, the allergic reaction with dust mites and bed bug bite symptoms are similar and thus many times confused.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dust Mite Allergy
If you feel itchy suddenly, your skin has turned red, but if you are unable to spot any bug or insect on your skin it more likely it is dust mite allergy.
Symptoms Of Dust Mite Allergy
To find out you have dust mites allergy or not you need to focus on all over body symptoms and not only skin. The symptoms include:
- Skin rashes and red blotches
- Skin irritation
- Broken skin
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- facial pressure and pain
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Shortness of breath
- Lips and tongue are swollen
- Water, red and itchy eyes
- Intermittent cough
- nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
- Trouble sleeping
- Whistling or wheezing sound while exhaling.
It is not necessary that all the symptoms are present, but just a few symptoms may also be present depending on the severity of the allergic reaction and differs from person to person.
How to Distinguish Between Dust Mite Allergy and Bed Bug Bite?
Dust mite allergy causes itchy red small patches. Bed bug bites are itchy, red bumpy and slightly large in comparison to dust mite bites. The patches by the dust mite is scattered, and bumps by a bed bug are mostly in a line.
Does Dust Mite Allergy Affects Everyone?
Dust irritates most of the people, but only some are allergic to dust or dust mites. Our body’s immune system reacts to foreign substances. Those coming in contact with allergens, produces an inflammatory response that mostly effects nasal passage or lungs. Too much exposure to the allergen and chronic inflammation may also lead to asthma.
So what are the treatment option and how to prevent dust mite allergy?
When To Consult Doctor
The symptoms of dust mite allergy such as cold and sneezing may be similar to the common cold. But if these symptoms persist for more than a week better see a doctor and it may be an allergy. Your doctor may ask you to get a blood test and allergy skin test to screen the specific allergen.
If symptoms of dust mite allergy range from mild to severe. Mild cases include occasional watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and rashes, but in severe cases, the symptoms may be ongoing. There is persistent congestion, cough sneezing, facial pressure and even asthma attack. Seek emergency care if you experience shortness of breath or wheezing.
Dealing With Dust Mite Bites
Your doctor will give you antihistamines to reduce the symptoms. Antihistamine stops itching and also runny nose and sneezing. But yes, there are natural home remedies too that you can try.
Home Remedies To Treat Dust Mite Bites
1.Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has soothing as well as antibacterial properties. The itching due to dust mites is uncomfortable and irresistible. You scratch and expose skin to secondary infections. Applying coconut oil soothes itchiness and also being antibacterial prevents disease.
*Always use virgin coconut oil. Apply the oil in the morning and evening for a few days.
2. Aloe vera– Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that not only reduces itching but swelling caused due to dust mite allergy.
Extract the gel of aloe vera and pally it to the affected area 2 to 3 times in a day. Also this will keep your skin hydrated and thus prevent itching. For better results, you may also mix aloe vera gel with a few drops of tea tree oil or any other essential oil.
3. Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties, but it is a potent oil and should not be used without diluting. To a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil (or you may even use clarified butter) add a few drops of tea tree oil and apply to the affected area to reduce inflammation and itch.
4. Chamomile Oil – Just like tea tree oil chamomile oil also is anti-inflammatory but it is a potent oil and should not be used undiluted. Mix a few drops of this oi with a carrier oil and apply to the affected area.
*Inhaling essential oils is also found to relieve respiratory symptoms caused due to dust mites. You may either put a few drops of the oil in a handkerchief and breathe or use it by diffusion.
How to Prevent Dust Mite Bites/ Dust Mite Allergy
If you have realized that you have dust mite allergy, then you need to take steps to prevent allergies through measures discussed below:
1. Boost Your Health – Nutritional deficiency weakens your immune system ability to fight foreign bodies. Thus, you need to change your diet. Eat food rich in vitamins, mineral and fibre. Also, drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated.
2. Avoid Dust Mite Expose – The only way to avoid coming in contact with dust mite allergens is constant cleaning. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the dust.
*If you are allergic to dust mites better seek assistant for cleaning
Bedding should be washed regularly with hot water at least once in a week. Temperature should be 130 degrees Fahrenheit as at only this temperature mites die. You also have the option of using dust-proof mattress and pillow covers. Using HEPA vacuum cleaners helps as it ensures that all dust mites are removed along with their wastes without any possibility of their stay in the air.
3. Lower The Humidity Level- For this you may use hygrometer that measures humidity in the room. Lower the humidity level to 50% because dust mites thrive when humidity is 70%.
4. Keep Stuffed Toys Away – Stuffed toys accumulate dust easily and proves a good home for dust mites. Better keep them in transparent covers or make sure to wash them regularly.
5. Cut Down Clutter – Non-washable rugs, carpets and other items help the allergens to accumulate and also become airborne. Better get rid of them. It is better if you replace your carpet with hard floors.
In our article we have tried to gather all information regarding dust mite allergy. Still if you have queries, add to the comment section below.