Asthmatics, are you allergic to dust mites? - Institute for Respiratory Health

Asthmatics, are you allergic to dust mites?

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | News

Allergic asthmatics have one sworn enemy that science is finding difficult to defeat – the house dust mite. And, with the weather warming up and increasing humidity, the Institute for Respiratory Health wanted to give some advice on how to manage these difficult to see creatures living in the home.

Allergy to dust mites is very common and affects many asthma sufferers but also those with eczema and allergic rhinitis. If you’re allergic, you might notice breathing difficulties and other symptoms such as a runny or blocked nose or sneezing.

House dust mites are sightless and, like spiders, have 8 legs and they are about a quarter of a millimetre long. They live in your carpets and bedding where they eat your skin scales that you regularly shed and they thrive in warm, humid environments.

“For those allergic to the dust mites, the whole creature itself is not the main cause of your symptoms but substances they excrete in their droppings,” said Emeritus Professor Geoff Stewart, Director of the Institute.

“Each tiny creature produces about 20 waste droppings every day and these continue to cause allergies even after the mites have died.

“It is impossible to get rid of all dust mites from your home because they live in your bedding, carpets, furniture and stuffed toys but there are things you can do to minimise your dust mite exposure and keep your house clean and healthy as possible. We’ve provided a few suggestions.”

  • Wash all bedding at least once a week (wash at 55 degrees Celsius or above)
  • Use synthetic pillows and acrylic duvets
  • Use an allergy cover on your mattress and bedding
  • Use a high-efficiency filtration system vacuum cleaner
  • Damp wipe all hard services once a week
  • Choose wood or laminate flooring instead of carpet
  • Fit blinds that can be easily wiped down instead of curtains
  • Reduce the humidity in your home (below 45 per cent).

“Our aim at the Institute is to help improve the quality of everyday life for those with lung diseases including asthma. We do this through life-changing research and clinical trials that we undertake in the area,” said Emeritus Professor Stewart.