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Dust Mites – Are they the real cause of your hay fever?

Spring will soon be making a welcome return and with it comes the threat of hay fever. We all know that feeling of scratchy red eyes, blocked or stuffy nose and the general lethargy and inevitable irritability that comes with it. But did you know that many sufferers of hay fever may not actually be suffering from hay fever at all, but the effect of living with house dust mites.

I’m living with what?

Don’t panic, this isn’t some reincarnation of the Men in Black story, and we’re not being invaded by some giant alien cockroach. House dust mites are tiny, very primitive organisms that feed on the dead skin particles that cover almost everything in our homes. House dust mites are so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye. Small as they are, however, they can cause sneezing, skin reactions and, in more severe cases, shortness of breath.allergy-18656_960_720

Are they causing my symptoms?

Technically, no. The mites themselves don’t actually cause the reaction. It’s actually a bit grimmer than that. Dust mites can produce up to 200 times their own weight in waste and it’s actually that which causes us to react. Given the amount of waste that the mites can produce, this can often build up in our bedding which causes a flare up of the problems overnight and can affect the quality of sleep for sufferers.

Given that the symptoms of a dust mite allergy are similar to a number of other allergens and reactions, a diagnosis is normally a slightly complex process and requires a detailed medical history and an allergen test.

Do I need to call an exterminator?

Simply, no.

It’s very difficult to completely rid your home of dust mites because where there is dust there will probably be mites feeding off of it. There are, however, a few relatively easy steps that you can take to try to control them. The mites enjoy and thrive in a warm and humid environment, and live in carpets, bedding, stuffed toys and soft furnishings. To help control them, you should ensure that your home is kept to as low a humidity and temperature as possible and you can also consider changing your carpets for hard floors.

What else can I do?

A dehumidifier will help if your home is particularly difficult to control, in terms of the humidity. It’s also worth noting that hoovering isn’t the answer to your problems, it’s a bit of a myth that hoovering alone gets rid of dust mites. We should also debunk the myth that house dust mites bite – they don’t. They live on your dead and decomposing skin cells, not human flesh. If you’re getting bitten at night, it’s more likely you have bed bugs or scabies mites; if that’s the case, you need to take action. offers advice and guidance on managing dust mites and the allergy as well as providing vital treatment for those that suffer from dust mite allergy.

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