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Dealing with dust allergies: how to alleviate dust allergy symptoms in and around the home

Dust levels in the home can be managed so that those with a dust allergy or dust mite allergy feel relief from irritating symptoms. Find out how here!

No one can claim to live in a completely dust free home. Dust is about as compulsory in this world as death and taxes! Dust allergy symptoms are irritating and frustrating at the very least, and dust can be a trigger of asthma. Luckily, there are ways to effectively manage dust levels in your home, so that symptoms experienced by those with a dust allergy are minimised. Take a look!

What Exactly is Dust? Do I Have a Dust Allergy?

Dust accumulates in all our homes. It gathers in corners, layers itself on surfaces, and becomes airborne every time we open a window, sweep the floor, or even hoover. Despite a wide belief to the contrary, dust is not mostly dead skin cells. In fact, the bulk (two-thirds) of dust matter originates from the outside world, made up of things like dirt, pollen, and soot, elements which on their own can produce allergic symptoms in some people. The remaining third is usually made up of carpet and clothing fibres, hair, animal dander, mould spores, and food particles as well as yes, a little human skin, too. (FYI Most of the skin we shed doesn’t get a chance to become dust as it goes down the drain in the shower!)

How to Effectively Manage Dust Levels in Your Home

If you have eczema, sensitive skin, or a suspected allergy to dust and/or dust mites, minimising dust levels within your home is the way forward when it comes to the management of dust allergy symptoms.

Dust and eczema, by the way, is not a happy combination. Dust (and dust mites in particular) are known to exacerbate eczema, also known as contact dermatitis, which causes itchy, dry, scaly patches of skin in the sufferer.

Dust Allergy and Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms

Dust sure doesn’t attract many fans. For those suffering from dust allergies, the stuff is in fact likely to be thought of as enemy number one. People who are allergic to dust commonly experience a range of dust allergy symptoms when exposed to dust particles – particularly airborne ones – or dust mites.

Dust mites – teeny, tiny little critters who love dust and like hanging out in your bedding, carpets, and upholstery – can only be seen under a microscope. They’re great at clinging to carpets. Regular, intensive cleaning is the best way to manage them.

House dust mites are the number one trigger when it comes to dust allergies. But how to know if you’re allergic? Check out these common dust allergy and dust mite allergy symptoms. If you experience one or more of these when exposed to dust, you are likely allergic, or at the very least, dust-sensitive:

  • Sneezing
  • A stuffy or runny nose
  • Eczema or skin rash or irritation
  • Watery, irritated or red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • In some people, especially young children, dust may provoke serious asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Health warning: If you or someone in your household is having difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical assistance.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.

Key Steps to Dealing With Dust

  1. Keep upholstery such as fabric furniture covers clean by using a hypoallergenic detergent from a trusted brand such as Neutral 0%.
  2. Keep pets out of your bedroom, and, if necessary, out of the house.
  3. Use ‘dust-mite-proof’ non-allergenic pillowcases and mattress protectors,
  4. Wash bed linen frequently using a hypoallergenic washing powder or laundry detergent, like Neutral 0%.
  5. Wash children’s stuffed toys regularly in hot water to kill off dust mites that thrive in toys. (Remember, always read the care label on the toy to find out how to wash stuffed animals.)
  6. Minimise humidity in your home – a dehumidifier could be a good investment.
  7. Remember to clean under your bed regularly as dust typically collects there.
  8. Wash your pillows and duvets (removing the covers first!) at least once a year. If they are too big to fit in your washing machine, take them to the dry cleaner or the launderette.
  9. Vacuum curtains regularly and carpets even more regularly.
  10. Install a high performance filter for your air conditioning unit.

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To minimise dust levels in your home, don’t forget to ensure upholstery items such as furniture or cushion covers are cleaned regularly with a product designed to help reduce the risk of some allergic reactions. Neutral’s 0% laundry detergent range is a good choice, as it is free from fragrance and developed to be suitable for people with sensitive skin.