If you’re feeling congested, itchy, or generally uncomfortable, you’re likely not alone. The most common allergy that New Zealanders experience is a reaction to dust mites. Damp homes, temperate weather and humidity may mean that dust mites are an even bigger problem in New Zealand than many other countries.
Combating the effects of any allergies you have will not only make you feel better but could also help you avoid any further health implications.
Note: If you have a fear of creepy-crawlies, you might want to stop reading right now.
What is a dust mite?
Dust mites are closely related to the spider and tick family, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, these mites are actually too small to see with the naked eye, which means that you will likely not notice them in your home. These creatures are typically attracted to warm living environments and can often be found living on soft furnishings, such as bedding, carpet, and upholstered furniture.
A great many people tend to have an allergy to these little bugs, which may manifest as a breathing problem like wheezing and coughing. While people can take medication to reduce the symptoms of this allergy, the most effective way to deal with the problem is to reduce the number of mites living in your home.
Symptoms of the allergy
Needless to say, it’s crucial that you deal with this allergy as soon as possible once you have been formally diagnosed. If you suspect that you are suffering from a dust mite allergy, you should be aware of the following symptoms that sufferers tend to display:
Perhaps the most common symptom of this particular allergy, nasal congestion creates a ‘congested’ feeling in the nostrils. Sufferers may feel as though they need to blow their noses more regularly than usual and that they have trouble breathing through the nasal passage. Often enough, this symptom worsens during the evening hours.
In some cases, this allergy will also manifest as an ongoing cough. The sufferer will find that the symptoms of the allergy are much like that of a seasonal cold. However, unlike normal coughs, this one will not shift in a matter of days or weeks.
Since this allergy causes irritation, you could find that you experience a redness and itchiness around the eye area. Some sufferers also stream from their eyes involuntarily as a result of the ongoing discomfort.
Pressure around the face
Surprisingly, one of the most common symptoms is a feeling of pressure around the face. This particular sign is actually caused by a sinus problem, which has been triggered by the allergy itself.
Tightness and chest pain
As the allergy can prevent some sufferers from being able to breathe normally, you may experience a sense of tightness in the chest. In some extreme cases, people also feel a sharp pain in their chests.
Lifestyle changes you should make
When you have been diagnosed with a dust mite allergy, there are some steps you can take that will help to manage the problem. Rather than seeking out medication, it’s wiser and, frankly, easier to make small lifestyle changes, which will help get rid of dust mites in your home. Here are some of the things that you may wish to try for yourself
Use an air filter
Dust mite allergies are worsened when you breathe in these tiny bugs. Installing an air filter in your home means that you will have a better chance of avoiding this problem.
Get a mattress protector
Those suffering from this allergy should invest in the best mattress protector they can afford. These items help to protect the mattress itself from allergens, such as dust mites. However, they still require regular washing.
Wash bedding weekly
Dust mites tend to live in warm, unclean areas. By washing your bed sheets and duvet on a weekly basis, you can avoid any infestation issues further down the line.
Keep humidity low
Humid environments offer the perfect place for dust mites to thrive. With that in mind, investing in a decent dehumidifier for your home could be just the solution. Aim to keep the humidity level of your living space at below 50% at all times
Dust your home regularly
As the name suggests, dust mites will often live in dusty areas. Keeping on top of your cleaning routine and dusting your home on a regular basis will help to reduce the number of mites.