Natural Remedies to Reduce Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
Dust mite allergy treatment sometimes can be as unpleasant as the symptoms associated with sharing your bed, sofa, and carpeting with these unwanted guests. Believe me, I know. I have battled the effects of these tiny terrors for more than 20 years. After years of sneezing and wheezing – and practically living on over-the-counter allergy medications – I had allergy testing done. The results: I needed to avoid dust, mold, and ragweed.
When my immunologist told me that I needed to do my best to reduce or eliminate dust in my environment, I laughed out loud for quite some time. How do you avoid something that is everywhere? Back then, dust mite allergy relief meant spraying harmful chemicals in your home and loading up on allergy medications.
In my case, it also meant trying immunotherapy (more commonly known as allergy shots). None of those things worked well for me. Immunotherapy was a total bust. After years of treatment, retesting showed my allergy to dust and ragweed had worsened.
What causes dust mite allergies?
When I found out I was allergic to dust, I did a little digging to find out what it was about the dust that triggered an all-out assault on my sinuses. I was pretty grossed out by what I discovered. If you have never Googled this topic, brace yourself for skin-crawling and icky thoughts before you read on.
Dust allergies are caused by microscopic, insect-like pests called dust mites. Seems these guys love to eat dead skin shed by people and animals. Not surprisingly, they tend to hang out where dead skin is most likely to be found in abundance – in our mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting, and fabric curtains.
Dust mites do not bite or sting us or try to burrow into our bodies (thank goodness!). Some people are under the mistaken impression they do. Dust mites only get under our skin figuratively. What irritates us most about these unwanted house guests is a protein found in their fecal matter called Der p1. As if it was not bad enough that they are hanging out on our beds and couches, now I tell you they are pooping on them, too. The good news just keeps coming, right?
Inhaling Der p1 is what triggers an allergic reaction to dust mites in people like me.
How common are dust mite allergies?
Dust mites love temperatures between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the indoor climate in most homes, which is why 85 percent of them have the little critters sharing their living space. Apparently, I am not alone in my allergic reaction to dust mites. Roughly 10 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to dust mites.
Dust mite allergy symptoms
Dust mite allergy symptoms are not that different from other allergic reactions. For most people, they experience one or more of these common symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- Itchy nose, throat, and mouth
- Itchy skin
- Runny nose
- Stuffy Nose
Severe dust mite allergies can trigger asthma in some people. When that happens, they will experience chest tightness and pain, difficulty breathing, and a wheezing sound when they breathe. They may have difficulty sleeping due to these symptoms. An inhaler usually is required to help clear up an asthmatic reaction to dust mites.
Can’t I just get rid of the dust mites?
I know what you are thinking. Why can you not just politely ask them to leave? And if they refuse, forcibly show them the door? If only it were that simple.
Dust mites are everywhere. No amount of cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming can completely rid your home of them. Der p1 protein allergens are so tiny and lightweight that they become airborne, making it difficult to remove them and easy to inhale them. Rather than focusing on the impossible – removing them – settle for reducing the amount of Der p1 protein in your home.
Traditional dust mite allergy treatment
Once you are diagnosed with a dust mite allergy, there are several conventional treatment options available for people with dust mite allergies.
- Antihistamines are a popular treatment option. There are both prescription and over-the-counter strength brands available.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays can reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.
- Decongestants can help shrink nasal passage tissues, making it easier to breathe.
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is administered to help build natural immunity to the allergen.
None of these traditional dust mite allergy treatments are without side effects. Some of them are more unpleasant than others. Antihistamines and corticosteroid sprays can make your nasal passages dry and irritated, leading to nose bleeds. Decongestants can cause high blood pressure and lead to rebound nasal congestion if overused. Immunotherapy, in rare instances, can cause breathing difficulties.
Top 4 Natural Dust Mite Allergy Treatment Options
There are natural dust mite allergy treatment options that reduce the risks associated with using conventional medicines. Here are some of the ones I have found to be most effective in keeping my itchy, watery eyes and stuffy nose at bay.
Indoor allergen neutralizers
There is no reason to spray harsh chemicals and pesticides in your home to reduce dust mite allergies. For starters, they are not effective. Secondly, they come with their own toxic side effects. Consider using a natural alternative like Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Spray. Made from fruit and vegetable seed extracts, this clear liquid formula instantly destroys dust mite allergens. I have found the benefits last for weeks and highly recommend giving it a try.
Allergen covers for bedding
You can dust-mite proof your pillows and mattresses with allergy covers. There are a variety of brands on the market in sizes to fit every shape and style of bedding. I have used these for years and am pleased with the results. They seal dust mites into your pillows and mattresses to offer a protective layer against inhaling Der p1 while you sleep. Remember to wash them occasionally to keep them performing well.
Bed linens should be washed every week at temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to kill dust mites and the harmful Der p1 protein. Using an organic laundry rinse on your linens adds an extra layer of protection in your battle against dust mites. Not sure which one to try? I highly recommend Organic Allergy Relief Laundry Rinse. It is made of the same organic fruit and vegetable seed extracts as the relief spray I mentioned early. Using 2 ounces per load is all it takes to zap allergens right out of your linens. In fact, it works wonders for removing all allergens from clothing and linens, not just dust mites. Make sure to follow up that hot washing with a tumble in the dryer on high heat for good measure.
Weekly vacuuming When you have allergies, carpeting is not your friend for many reasons. When possible, remove carpeting from your home and definitely do not have it in your bedroom if you have a dust mite allergy. If you must have carpeting, vacuum at least twice a week to suck those dust mites and their tiny poo right out of there. Doing so can eliminate up to 90 percent of the contaminants that trigger your dust mite allergy symptoms. Having your carpets professionally cleaned and steamed at least once a year offers added protection.
The skinny on natural dust mite allergy relief
Trust me when I say you do not have to swallow a bunch of pills or spray fluids up your nose to tame your dust mite allergy symptoms. These natural alternatives for achieving dust mite allergy relief have worked for me for years. I wish some of these products had been available when I first was diagnosed. I could have saved myself years of dry skin and nose bleeds from more conventional treatments.
Shari Berg is a researcher, blogger, feature writer, and author of Wars End with Me.