Living with dust allergies can mean a constant battle with sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and itching. There is no escaping the presence of dust in everyday life, but there are things that you can do to reduce the triggers in your home.
Diagnosing and Treating Dust Allergies
The first step to coping with dust allergies is determining what exactly is causing your body’s allergic response. As part of this process, you should seek out an allergist, a medical professional trained in the body’s allergy response. This doctor may examine the lining of your nose to see if it is swollen or discolored. The allergist may also administer an allergy skin or blood test to verify what is causing the allergy and how severely allergic you are.
Once a diagnosis is determined, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends that proper treatment should include some combination of the following methods:
- Medication for allergies
- Allergy shots (subcutaneous immunotherapy)
- Sublingual Immunotherapy
- Changes to your household routine
A trained allergist will be able to discuss your options with you in more detail to help you determine which options are most appropriate for your medical needs and lifestyle.
Avoiding Allergy Triggers At Home
Managing a dust allergy also requires reducing exposure to allergic triggers in the home. For instance, someone with a dust allergy should consider eliminating any wall-to-wall carpeting in the home, especially in the bedroom. Wood flooring is less likely to harbor dust and dust mites.
Additionally, individuals with dust allergies should schedule a time for regular household cleaning, ideally with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. If the person with allergies will be doing the cleaning, they should consider wearing an N95 filter mask. After dusting, sweeping, and vacuuming, it can take up to two hours for the dust to settle.
Other changes that individuals with dust allergies should consider include:
- Washing all sheets, comforters, and blankets regularly using hot water.
- Consider using “mite-proof” cases on your mattresses and pillows.
- Keep a HEPA air cleaner running, preferably in the bedroom.
- Restrict pets from the bedroom.
- Install a high-efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in the furnace and air conditioning unit and change it every three months.
- Have your heating and air conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity level below 55 percent.
- Use a vent fan for removing moisture in bathrooms and the kitchen, in addition to repairing any water leaks to eliminate moisture, which can attract dust mites.
Finally, pests, particularly roaches, are frequent triggers for people with allergies or asthma. Keeping unrefrigerated food covered is essential, as is throwing away all trash in a tightly sealed garbage can. Regular visits from a pest control service can also be helpful.
Columbia Allergy takes a patient-focused approach that views every person as an individual with unique challenges and goals. If you are seeking treatment for asthma or allergies, contact us at any of our convenient locations in California, Idaho, Oregon, or Washington.
This is not medical advice. We encourage you to seek assessment and treatment from a trained medical professional to learn more about your unique needs.