Our summer has been hot and most of the allergens in the air have died off, but many of us are still sniffling and sneezing.
Dr. Dennis Dilley, Medical Director of Dilley Allergy explains this is because of the allergens inside our home rather than those outside.
Dr. Dilley says the top two allergens seen within the home are pet dander and dust mites.
“What’s happening is a lot of people are spending more time inside because it’s so hot outside and that’s leaving them with that constant exposure,” said Dilley.
Dust mites multiply quickly inside our homes when humidity is high. Dust mites need humidity to survive and Texas summers provide plenty of it.
Many people are allergic to the microscopic arachnids. The tiny bugs eat skin cells that people shed and they can be found in most homes because bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting provide an ideal living environment for them.
Dr. Dilley recommends going to your primary care doctor to see what medicines can help manage symptoms associated with allergens inside your home.
The American Lung Association offers the following advice for reducing dust mites:
- Reduce humidity. Keep your home below 50 percent humidity. In humid areas, air conditioning and dehumidifiers can help.
- Reduce the places where dust mites can live. Remove upholstered furniture or use furniture with smooth surfaces. Remove drapes and curtains. Cover mattresses and pillows with allergen encasements. Wash bedding in hot water (at least 120 degrees F) once a week. Reduce clutter, stuffed animals, and other places where dust mites live. If that’s not possible, wash stuffed animals weekly in hot water (at least 130 degrees) to kill and wash away dust mites.
- Replace carpets. Carpeting should be removed from the home, especially if occupants are allergic to dust mites. If you must keep the carpet, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. Damp clean floors often, focusing on catching dirt and dust without wet mopping.
- Dust regularly. Dust regularly to reduce the amount of dust and improve overall indoor air quality in your home. When dusting, use something that can trap and lock dust (like a wet washcloth or microfiber cloth) dust to reduce the amount of it that is stirred up when cleaning.