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How to Control Itching From Exposure to Dust Mites

written by: Jennifer Gonzalez • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 5/31/2011

Many people have an allergy to dust mites, which can cause itching of the skin. There is no real way to fully rid your home of these tiny creatures, but there are ways to help control the itching from dust mites.

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    dust mite You may have heard someone say at one time or another that they are allergic to dust. What that person probably doesn't know is they are more than likely allergic to the dust mites found in dust, and not the dust on its own. One of the most common causes for a person to have an allergy outbreak in their home is due to contact with dust mites. The biggest reason for this is the amount of dust that is present in many homes. Even homes that are cleaned and dusted on a regular basis is prone to dust build up because many dust particles remain unseen. For a person with an allergy, this can have a poor affect on their health.

    An individual with a dust mite allergy may experience the same symptoms of hay fever, or seasonal allergies which is sneezing, itchy nose and throat, watery eyes, coughing and itching of the skin. Dust mites are also known to cause asthma and other breathing problems for someone that is very sensitive to them.

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    What is a Dust Mite?

    A dust mite is a tiny creature that cannot be seen by the human eye, but through a microscope. They are closely related to spiders and ticks, and they survive off of our dead skin cells. Since people are their main source of life, they are found dwelling in the areas we frequent such as sofas, mattresses, pillows, carpets, clothes and anywhere else a person comes in regular contact with. They cling on to the fibers in fabric so they will be found on any area of your home that gives them a comfortable place to hang.

    Dust mites cause allergies in many people. This allergy comes from the waste leftover from the mite and the dead carcasses of other mites that a person breathes in inside their home, office and many other indoor places. Dust mites depend on moist environments to survive which is why exposure to them is more likely to take place in a closed home, rather than the outdoors.

    Although there is no real way to completely eliminate these creatures in your home, steps can be taken to reduce their numbers. Frequent washing of all bed sheets and pillows and frequent dusting and vacuuming will help to control this phenomenon. Some people have also been known to vacuum their mattresses and sofas once a week to take that process of reducing one-step further.

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    Controlling the Itch

    Coming in contact with dust mites can cause serious itching for a person that has a sensitivity to them. This itching can simply feel like an itch all over, or it can turn into a rash, and even hives. To control itching from dust mites, a person can take the recommended dosage of an antihistamine such as Benadryl. There are also different types of hydrocortisone creams or calamine lotion that goes topically over the skin to help alleviate the discomfort of itching. In cases of a serious allergic reaction, some people may opt to receive allergy shots. In many cases, these shots protect the person for a few months from having an allergy outbreak. Showering with a mild soap and water will also help to lessen the discomfort of itching by removing the mites from your skin. Good hygiene, regular washing of clothes and bed sheets and frequent dusting will all help to make it easier for a person with allergies to live with dust mites. Although, who really wants to live with them in the first place?

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    References

    Dust Mites 101, http://www.dust-mite.net/

    Dust Mite Allergies, http://www.dust-mite.net/dust-mite-allergies/

    Alliance for Healthy Homes, http://www.afhh.org/hhe/hhe_dust_mites.htm

    Dust Mite Photo C/O Gilles San Martin-creativecommons.org