What are dust mites?

Dust mites are eight-legged microscopic relatives of the spider, too small to see with your eyes. These tiny mites live on bedding, mattresses, carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture. They are the most common trigger of allergies and asthma.

Dust mites feed on the flakes of skin that people and pets shed daily. Dust mites are on every continent except Antarctica.

What are dust mites allergies?

Dust mites are the most common trigger of allergies and asthma. An allergen is a substance that cause your body to react with an immune system response, such as sneezing, stuffy nose, coughing and wheezing.

Who is allergic to dust mites?

Anyone can be allergic to dust mites. Individuals with asthma have a higher risk of being allergic to dust mites. Those with a family history of allergies also have a stronger risk of being allergic to dust mites.

What are the symptoms of dust mite allergies?

Symptoms of dust mite allergies include the following. These symptoms can be signs of many allergies and conditions. You should see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms for an extended period of time:

  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Postnasal mucus drip
  • Coughing
  • Asthma symptoms that get worse, including difficulty breathing, chest tightening, and/or a whistling sound while breathing out

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/25/2018.


  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Dust Mite Allergy. Accessed 2/22/2018.
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Dust Mites. Accessed 2/22/2018.
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Dust Allergy. Accessed 2/22/2018.

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