If you feel like you constantly have a cold and suffer from symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and coughing, you could have an allergy. It is estimated that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies every year, with triggers ranging from pets, pollen, and dust.
Today we are going to look at one of the most common allergies, dust, and look at natural ways that can help you from suffering. A dust allergy is caused by a reaction to dust mites, and there are simple steps that you can take to reduce dust mites in your home. Read on to find out how to get rid of dust mites naturally.
What are dust mites?
Dust allergies occur due to an allergic reaction to dust mites which are tiny bugs that commonly thrive in house dust. Dust mites cannot be seen with the naked eye and are only seen with a microscope. They feast on human and animal dander (skin cells which are shed by people and animals) and prefer warm and humid environments such as bedding, upholstery and carpets.
Dust mites prefer temperatures around 70F (21 C) and humidity around 70-80%. Dust mite allergies are common during the summer months, peaking in July and August due to warm and humid weather conditions.
How bad is a dust allergy?
A dust allergy can range from mild to severe.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to an allergen, such as a dust mite, which is a foreign substance. This causes your immune system to produce antibodies that protect you from foreign bodies.
When you have an allergy, although the substance you are in contact with is harmless, your immune system produces an inflammatory response which gives you unwanted symptoms.
Prolonged exposure to allergens (in this instance the dust mite) means the inflammation will be chronic and symptoms persist.
What are the common symptoms of dust allergy?
- Sneezing (allergic rhinitis)
- A runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy nose, throat and roof of the mouth
- Red, watery and itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
- Post nasal drip
- A cough
- Facial pressure and pain
- Wheezing, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and pain
- Sleep disturbances can occur.
Steps that you can follow to relieve symptoms of dust mites
It is easier to manage a dust allergy than it is to treat it. Prevention of common triggers is important, and there are steps you can follow to relieve symptoms of a dust allergy. Apart from medications including antihistamines to relieve symptoms, there are some natural solutions which you can try at home.
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1. Steam inhalation and gargle mouth with warm salt water –
- Steam inhalation will reduce nasal congestion and opens up the nasal passages. Gargling with warm salt water reduces itchiness in your throat.
- Drink cooled boiled water to reduce itching.
2. Regular exercise –
Aerobic exercises like cycling, swimming, brisk walking and jogging 30 minutes a day for most days of the week, is good to relieve allergies. Regular aerobic exercise opens up your respiratory system and clears the nasal passages.
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It also produces an anti-inflammatory effect which helps to reduce symptoms, produced by a dust allergy such as sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. However, avoid jogging and walking in dusty environments.
3. Use of Apple cider vinegar –
This is a useful solution which is found in your kitchen. While using it to clean your sinks and showers, apple cider vinegar can also be used as a natural allergy remedy. It reduces mucus secretion and cleanses the lymphatic system. You can swallow one tablespoon daily or mix it into a cup of hot water and add a little honey to it and drink daily.
4. Use of honey –
Honey has trace amounts of allergens in it, as it is produced by bees from natural sources like pollen and flower nectar. This sensitizes your immune system and reduces allergic symptoms. However, the effect will not occur immediately as developing sensitization in your body takes time. Taking 1 tablespoon of honey a day will gradually reduce your symptoms.
5. Using probiotics in your diet –
Allergies occur when your body’s immune system is not working properly. This makes your body react extra-ordinarily to foreign bodies like dust, causing an allergic reaction. Probiotics can help to boost your immune system. They are found in fermented foods like yogurt and curd. The Lactobacillus found in them is beneficial to your gastrointestinal tract.
There are certain over the counter medications which you can take to relieve allergic symptoms due to dust. These are antihistamines such as Chlorpheniramine, Fexofenadine (Allegra), Loratadine (Claritin) or Cetrizine. You have to be cautious while using these; make sure that proper dose is taken along with the correct frequency of administration. Antihistamines reduce symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, watery itchy eyes and nasal congestion.
If you have facial pain or congestion taking Paracetamol helps.
Nasal congestion can be also relieved by using nasal drops or nasal sprays. Some are available as over the counter products.
When to seek help from a doctor?
- When the symptoms are severe and persistent
- When shortness of breath worsens
- When there are complications like sinusitis and asthma
How to get rid of dust mites naturally
When you take steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home by making sure it is free of dust, you can control your dust allergy. Limit your exposure to dust by keeping your bedroom clean especially because you spend most of your time in it.
- If your floor is tiled, cemented or wooden, you can sweep and mop your floor regularly. If you are sensitive wear a face mask while doing so.
- Clean your home regularly with a vacuum cleaner that contains a HEPA filter. Make sure your curtains and upholstery are dust free.
- Use an air purifier that has a HEPA filter.
- Use “mite-proof” cases on your mattresses and pillows – Airtight, plastic dust mite covers can be used to prevent dust from holding on to your pillows and mattresses.
- Use pillows filled with polyester fibres. Avoid pillows and mattresses filled with cotton, kapok or feathers as these can gather dust and cause allergies.
- If you live in a tropical country, use of sunlight to dry your pillows and mattresses will help to get rid of the dust mites. This can be done once a week. Allow sunlight to fall into your bedrooms to kill dust mites naturally.
- Wash and dry all bedding regularly. It is important to wash your bedding and bed linen in very hot water (at a temperature of 130 F preferred). Hot water kills dust mites.
- Avoid having wall-to-wall carpets where possible because dust can collect in between.
- Wood flooring is better than carpeted floors.
| About the Guest Author:
James Garner is a keen writer who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and teaching them the ways of the world. He loves writing about any topic related to home or office life. He currently runs the blog at Clean Home Guide.