How to know if you have dust mites in your home
How to know if you have dust mites in your home

What Are Dust Mites?

3 min read



Dust Mites: What They Are, How to Spot Them, and How to Manage the Allergy Symptoms

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that belong to the same family as spiders and ticks. They thrive in warm, humid environments and feed on the dead skin cells shed by humans and animals. These minuscule creatures are invisible to the naked eye, measuring about a quarter to a third of a millimeter in size. Despite their small size, they can negatively impact your health if you're allergic to them.

How do you know if you have dust mites?

While you can't see dust mites with the naked eye, some signs may indicate their presence in your home. Common indicators include:

  • Allergic Reactions: If you experience symptoms like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itchy or watery eyes, or a runny nose, especially when you wake up or while cleaning, you may be allergic to dust mites.
  • Visible Dust Accumulation: Although you can't see dust mites themselves, you can often see the dust they produce (note: not all dust is produced by dust mites). Dust mites thrive in soft furnishings like bedding, carpets, and upholstered furniture, so if these items appear dusty or if you notice a buildup of dust in your home, it could be a sign of dust mite activity.
  • Skin Irritations: Dust mite allergens can also cause skin reactions such as eczema or dermatitis, particularly in children.

Can you see dust mites?

As mentioned earlier, dust mites are too small to be seen without magnification. Even though they're present in almost every home, they remain hidden from view. However, you can infer their presence based on the signs mentioned above.

Dust mite symptoms

Allergic reactions to dust mites can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin rashes or eczema

How do I manage my dust mite allergies?

While it's impossible to eliminate dust mites from your home, there are several steps you can take to reduce their population and alleviate allergy symptoms:

  • Use allergen-proof covers on mattresses, pillows, and duvets to create a barrier between you and dust mites.
  • Wash bedding regularly including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, in hot water (at least 130°F or 54°C) weekly to kill dust mites and remove allergens.
  • Keep indoor humidity levels below 50%.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap dust and allergens, and dust surfaces regularly with a damp cloth to prevent airborne particles.
  • If other measures fail, consider replacing carpets with hard flooring and opting for blinds instead of curtains, as these items can harbor dust mites.
  • Get immediate relief with a customized prescription nasal spray
  • If you’d prefer a long-term solution, consider at-home allergy drops

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