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.
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.
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.
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:
If your healthcare provider feels you might have a dust mite allergy, he or she may do the following tests to diagnose your condition:
Skin prick test: A small drop containing dust mite proteins is placed on your skin. If you are allergic, you will develop redness, swelling and itching at the test site within 15 minutes.
Specific IgE blood test: Your healthcare provider may order blood work that can be evaluated to determine if you have an allergy to dust mites.
The most effective way to treat dust mite allergies is to eliminate as many dust mites as possible from your home.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend medicine to lessen the symptoms of your dust mite allergies. You may be prescribed:
Dust mites cannot be completely eliminated from your home. However, they can be reduced. Reducing dust mites in your house can eliminate or lessen dust mite allergies.
The following practices can help reduce dust mites in your home:
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 01/25/2018