Dust mite allergy symptoms

Dust mite allergy symptoms

Dust mite allergy symptoms are a lot like hay fever or a (very) persistent cold. Frankly, it can be confusing. So how do you know what’s making you feel bad for much of the time?

Dust mite allergy is among the most common types of allergy. In this article, we’ll be discussing the tell-tale signs to look out for if you think you could be having dust mite allergy symptoms. We’ll talk about ways you can manage them, as well as possible treatments.

Dust mite allergy symptoms: it’s not about the bug

Okay it is, but not in the way you think. Scientists first linked dust mites to allergic conditions in the 1960s. Like most bugs, these eight-legged cousins of the spider look pretty scary under the microscope. But they’re harmless – they don’t even bite. It’s the bugs’ personal habits that cause dust mite allergy symptoms.

Hay fever:
the seasonal sneezes

A girl sneezing due to hay fever in yellow

Each dust mite produces 200 times its body weight in waste in the course of its short life. The tiny particles of waste measure about 20-25 μm (microns) – roughly the same as the pollen grains that cause hay fever. The effect is similar too when you breathe them in, as we all do because the tiny bugs are our invisible house mates. Astronauts have even found them on the space station.

Allergic rhinitis year round could be dust mite allergy symptoms

One of the symptoms of dust mite allergy is perennial allergic rhinitis; perennial because it happens all year round, unlike seasonal hay fever.

Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory condition of the lining of your nose. Your immune system identifies the dust mite waste particles as dangerous intruders. It sends out its armies to attack them, which causes inflammation of the nasal lining. To you that feels like a horribly blocked nose and lots of mucus.

Dust mite allergy symptoms: More than just a blocked nose

Eczema is another of the possible dust mite allergy symptoms. Repeated flares of the rash can be very itchy and irritating. Eczema often gets in the way of a good night’s sleep too.

So, you see, your allergic reaction might start with a stuffy nose. But you could also have these dust mite allergy symptoms:

10 dust mite allergy symptoms checklist

  • Congested, stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Post-nasal drip (the feeling of mucus moving down the back of your throat)
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes, particularly when you wake up in the morning
  • Cough
  • Tight chest or wheezing
  • Sinus inflammation/pain
  • Skin reactions, rashes, eczema

Dust mite allergy can involve any combination of the symptoms from the checklist above.

Dust mite symptoms

Dust mite allergy symptoms can affect your daily life

Losing sleep is bad for your physical and mental health. It leaves you feeling exhausted in the mornings. You may have trouble concentrating, which creates problems at work or school. Some people even start feeling anxious and depressed.

What’s the difference between cold and dust mite allergy symptoms?

You’re right, it could be a cold. But you won’t get to shake off dust mite allergy symptoms in a week or two. These are some typical signs you can look for to help rule out having a cold:


Itchy nose or eyes
Colds Allergies



Itchy nose or eyes
Colds Allergies



Itchy nose or eyes
Colds Allergies



Read more about the difference between allergies and a cold.

Diagnosing dust mite allergy symptoms

Only a health care provider can say for certain if you have dust mite allergy symptoms. Book an appointment and start keeping an allergy diary. These are the sort of things to note down:

  • How are you feeling, exactly?
  • How long do your symptoms last?
  • Does anything seem to make them worse, or better?
  • Do you notice your allergy symptoms happening at particular times of day?
  • For instance, are you suffering more at night?
  • Maybe it’s only at certain times of year?
  • Do your allergy symptoms happen at home or when you’re outside?

If it does sound like dust mite allergy symptoms, your health care provider might refer you to a specialist for more tests. A skin prick test or a blood test can help to confirm the diagnosis.


A good start for managing dust mite allergy symptoms is making your home less bug-friendly. The next step is to tweak your cleaning routine to kill any dust mites that linger.

Why do dust mite allergy symptoms happen indoors?

Dust mites feed mostly on our dead skin. You shed a great amount of skin cells a day. It’s a large part of what makes up normal household dust, which is why your home is the dust mite’s favorite habitat. And why dust mite allergy symptoms happen indoors.

Bedrooms – and beds – are particular hotspots. But dust mites also love upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, curtains and even soft toys. Turn your head on the pillow, sit down on the sofa to watch TVnd up goes a cloud of allergens. And it takes about 20-30 minutes for the particles to settle down again.

9 tips to keep dust mite allergy symptoms at bay

A good start for managing dust mite allergy symptoms is making your home less bug-friendly – particularly your bedroom. The next step is to tweak your cleaning routine to kill any dust mites that linger.

  1. Keep humidity levels in your home down to a steady 35% to 50%. A dehumidifier can help.
  2. Declutter and put dust traps away: toys, clothes, knick-knacks and books.
  3. Choose hard floors rather than carpet, blinds not curtains, and a sofa you can vacuum underneath.
  4. Use mite-proof covers on your bedding.
  5. Washing bed linen every week at 120F to get rid of dust mites. But washing at a lower temperature can also remove a lot of the dust mites.
  6. Pop bulky duvets and quilts you can’t wash into the tumble dryer for an hour. Blankets only need 10 minutes.
  7. Small things like soft toys should also be washed at 120F. If that’s not possible, they can also go in the freezer for at least 12 hours.
  8. Get HEPA filters for your vacuum cleaner to trap waste particles in the dust collector. Vacuum at least once a week, ideally twice, including furnishings.
  9. Wipe smooth surfaces with a damp cloth rather than a duster as this stops the dust from flying up into the air.
A man and girl hugging in blue

Is it right for me?

Dust mite allergy symptom relief

Antihistamines, corticosteroids and decongestants are all common treatments to ease dust mite allergy symptoms. Antihistamines block the chemical histamine which the body releases when it comes into contact with an allergen. Corticosteroids can help calm inflammation. Both can help to control the irritation in your nose. Decongestants can also help with your blocked nose but should only be taken for a limited time.

If you have eczema, there are skin care regimes designed to soothe and moisturize. Meanwhile antihistamines and corticosteroid creams may help control itching and inflammation. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist for advice.

Always follow your health care provider’s or pharmacist’s advice as well as the instructions in the patient information leaflet when taking medicines to relieve dust mite allergy symptoms.

Allergy immunotherapy treatment

Dust mite allergy symptoms can sometimes be hard to manage. In which case your health care provider may discuss allergy immunotherapy with you. Treatment involves repeated tiny doses of an allergen over a period of time. This can be either as injections or as tablets under your tongue.

Allergy immunotherapy treats the cause of your allergy. The idea is to stimulate your immune system and get it used to dust mite allergens so it stops seeing them as a threat. This can reduce your dust mite allergy symptoms and the need for medicines to relieve them.

You’ll be able to discuss the details of allergy immunotherapy with your health care provider so you can decide if it’s right for you.

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