dust and dander Allergy dust and dander Allergy

What Are Dust and Dander Allergies? 101 Guide

A few tiny bugs in your home must have made you face some allergic reactions. Especially, the indoor allergens of dust and dander allergies can be quite bothersome in March and May.

We may not know what is the exact cause of allergic reactions.1 However, with more open windows, dander (skin flakes) of fauna, flora blooming in the open field, and pet dander can be interpreted as significant reasons for allergies.

Before gearing up to examine the allergy foundation of dust and dander allergies, its cure, and treatment, let’s briefly discuss the particular allergen (dust and dander).

1. What are Dust and Dander Allergies?

Women sneezing due to dust and dander allergies
By cottonbro/Pexels. Copyright 2022

Dust and Dander allergies are year-round allergies.

The airborne allergens are a fusion of air filters. Some filters are transferred as indoor allergies within your shoes, clothes, nasal passages, and skin.

The irritants emerging in your home are due to dryness of the skin, hair shedding of pets, and more.

Thus, to better understand the causes of dust and dander allergies, let’s know what dust and dander allergies are!!

1.1 What Is Dust?

The amalgamation of dust particles 2or dust mites differs from region and region depending on characteristics like hydration of the skin test and total inhabitants of the area.

Mostly, dust comprises of:

  • Dead skin flakes of insects.
  • Debris of hair.
  • Leftover bits of food.
  • Strands of carpets, clothes, and other fabrics.
  • Floss of animals.
  • Chemicals in the form of pollution are released from buildings and paints.

The composition mentioned above of dust mites is the most common indoor allergen!

Around 40-60% of the dust particles originate outdoors. These dust allergy symptoms are smoke, air pollutants, and dirt.

1.2 What Is Dander?

The word “dander’ primarily means “flakes of skin in an animal’s fur or hair.”

In simple words, dander includes minute scales of dead skin cells and bits of hair of animals and humans. Also, did you know the word ‘dandruff’ is derived from dander? Read here to learn the dissimilarities between the two!

Certainly, dander is the favoured dish of dust mites (minute bugs belonging to the spider family that survive in indoor dust and feed on shredding dead skin flakes of humans). The increased spread of dander ultimately leads the way to high levels of dust mites.

Dander and dust mites and dust constitute the basic cause of allergies. It has also been noted that around 5-8 individuals out of 10 are exposed to dust mites indoors, and about 6 to 8 individuals out of 10 are exposed to dog dander.

Dust and Dander allergic reactions are mostly similar to allergies of dust mites. Hence, this article would like you to explore the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures of dust mites (dust and dander).

2. What Is A Dust Mite?

Dust mites are quite small, making them difficult to determine. These microscopic objects are approximately 1/4 to 1/5 millimetres long with eight legs.

Hence, by no means these tiny pests are insects, but arthropods, like spiders.

When these arthropods are seen under a microscope, they appear similar to white spiders.

The duration of survival for male dust mites3 is estimated at a month. Female dust mites are counted to live up to one and a half months.

Dust mites are widespread in-house dust particles that feed only on decomposed skin cells. If we assume in one day, an individual may have 1 to 1.5 grams of skin cells shredded, which could be a meal for around a million dust mites.

These microscopic arthropods usually build their home where most of the skin’s dead cells are likely to gather. It includes carpeting and furniture. Floormats and stuffed toys are home to dust mites too.

Because dust mites feed and dig themselves far down into fabrics, they can roam along with you, be it on a vacation or a pilgrimage!

Surely, we can observe these dust mites all year around globally. However, these creatures are weakened in hot water and humid climates.

Dust mites are allergenic, expressing they may lead to allergies. Also, they drop skin flakes and excretion particles, which can activate allergies.

3. Dust Mite Allergy

Dust Mite Allergy: Symptoms and Treatments

An allergen is a reaction particle that leads to dust allergies.

Many people consider that dust mite allergens may cause sinus infections. These tiny bugs leave their decayed bodies and excrete behind.

As mentioned above, dust mites prefer surviving in relative humidity; however, they die also in extreme and hot temperatures.

Thus, the simultaneous process of surviving and decomposing leads to allergic symptoms.

3.1. Causes of Dust Mite Allergy

Having been infected with allergies, our immune system fights back allergies. It recognizes the allergen that might be bothersome but is not.

Whenever an individual comes in touch with any allergen, the immune system begins generating an irritative response in the lungs or nasal chambers.

Extended or systematic vulnerability to dust allergens can lead to continuous inflammation accompanied by asthma.

The dust mites feed on organic substances like the shredded skin cells of humans. Also, dust mites live by absorbing water from the atmosphere due to humid climates rather than consuming hydrated substances.

It is easy for dust mites to fit in a clean household environment. Carpeting and bedding almost catch and retain moisture, causing tiny bugs to grow.

Also, dust can be a sneeze-activating irritant for any individual. However, a few allergy sufferers develop the immune response to get accustomed to dust mite allergies.

3.2. Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergies

Familiar dust mite allergy symptoms constitute of:

  • Sneezing or scratchy throat.
  • Stuffy nose, red or runny nose.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Irritative skin.
  • Cough syndromes (post-nasal drip)
  • Cold and cough.

For severe asthma attack, dust mite triggers symptoms of:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain.
  • Gasping sound while. exhaling
  • Insomnia due to difficulty in breathing and coughing.

3.3. Medical Treatment for Dust Mite Allergies

To remove dust mites, consult a doctor in response to the treatment options mentioned below:

  • Antihistamines

Antihistamine medication blocks histamine4 (organic compound), liberated when our immune system runs against an allergen particle. Regular antihistamines involve Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin, and other drug medications.

  • Pain-Killers (Decongestants)

If stiff nose allergy symptoms are continuous, an OTC(Over Counter) or prescription medication of decongestants is beneficial. Similarly, we can use a similar treatment to remove mucus for cough syndromes and allergic rhinitis5.

  • Injections

To grow and strengthen our immunity, allergy shots are injected into our body for a particular allergen. These allergy shots are put into action weekly during diverse months or years.

Allergy shots, being devoid of medications, are best for allergies. However, a skin prick test for allergy is recommended before getting injected.

3.4. Household Dust Method To Get Rid of Dust Mites

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Image from Shutterstock

Dust mites should be targeted at regions where they favour to survive and thrive. The regions include:

  • Bed spreading.
  • Cushions or pillows.
  • Floormats.
  • Furniture and bed covering.
  • Upholstered furniture.
  • blinds and curtains
  • Stuffed toys.

Additionally, periodic mopping, dusting, and cleaning can deal with dust mites. No specific kill dust mites’ tools are required!

4. Return of Dust and Dander Allergies- How To Prevent Dust Mites?

Prevention is key to eluding dust and dander allergies (dust mite allergies)!

An instant removal of dust allergies is troublesome. However, follow the steps below to trap dust mites’ growth:

  • Carpet as little as possible.
  • Periodic vacuuming of rugs.
  • Regular dusting trying to try to keep furniture areas in a clean place.
  • Adjust the household temperature of humidity around 40-6o% to reduce indoor allergens.
  • Certified filters in air conditioning units of vacuums can help capture dust mites.
  • Wash household necessities using hot water.
  • Floor Mattress and pillow cover to prevent dust mites from entering your bedding.
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Air Filters-Image from Shutterstock

5. FAQs – Dust and Dander Allergies

5.1. Can Air Filters Lessen Dust and Dander Allergies?

Discovering the virtuous air filter for household HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems can reduce dust and dander allergies and assist in upgrading the indoor dust environment.

Usually, we should search for a filter with a higher level of MERV rating that provides fine production while operating with the HVAC system. Generally, a group of 6 to 10 rating is suited in households.

A higher MERV rating, around 8-10%, is quite effective in lessening the minute dust particles, which may cause allergies.

Also, remember to replace your air filter as per your manufacturer’s recommendation.

5.2. What Other Substitutes Travel Along with The Dust, Which May Cause Allergies?

Cat and dog hair strands, pet dander, mould spores, skin cells of cockroaches, and especially dust mites all of these are common allergens. Such allergens may lead to allergic reactions when inhaled.

5.3. What Is The Distinction Between a Dust Mite and a Bedbug?

Bedbugs are substantial enough to be observed with the naked eye! They are often confused with dust mites since bed bugs survive in bed covers, curtains, and rugs. The biggest similarity- bed bugs cause allergic reactions too.

The basic difference is that Bedbugs bite human skin; dust mites may irritate your skin but don’t bite. Also, they explore the concept of itchy redness by bedbugs.

Is it Bed Bugs Or Dust Mites? | Problems Falling Asleep Because of Itchy Red Bites

Takeaway- Control Your Indoor Air Quality

The best way to treat allergies, be it dust mites or dust and dander, is to escape the cause of hidden offenders. Depending on the seriousness of the allergy symptoms, you might require quick aid.

Dust mites are widespread in households. Thus, frequent cleaning, washing, and other preventive estimates should be considered to discard the growth of insects and allergies.

Get a common HVAC system that refines ventilation, air conditioning, and purification to eliminate allergy symptoms.

Consult an allergist if you possess dust and dander allergies, regardless of dust mite hindrance.

Also, have you ever heard about bird mites? Explore its proven traits!

  1. Versluis, Astrid, et al. “Frequency, severity and causes of unexpected allergic reactions to food: a systematic literature review.” Clinical & Experimental Allergy 45.2 (2015): 347-367. ↩︎
  2. Prabhakar, Amit, et al. “Amalgamation of diverse hydrodynamic effects with novel triple-sided membrane valves for developing a microfluidic device for filterless and continuous water purification.” RSC advances 11.46 (2021): 28723-28734. ↩︎
  3. Hart, B. J. “Life cycle and reproduction of house‐dust mites: environmental factors influencing mite populations.” Allergy 53 (1998): 13-17. ↩︎
  4. Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. “Histamine and histamine intolerance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.5 (2007): 1185-1196. ↩︎
  5. Greiner, Alexander N., et al. “Allergic rhinitis.” The Lancet 378.9809 (2011): 2112-2122. ↩︎



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