Do you wake up every morning with itchy eyes and a runny nose? If you’ve noticed that your allergy symptoms always seem worse in the morning, it may be due to an incredibly common culprit: dust mites.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic pests. They are closely related to ticks and spiders, and thrive in warm, humid environments. They can be found in pretty much every home, and are especially attracted to:
- Upholstered furniture
Because dust mites live in your home, allergies can occur year-round. This is different than pollen allergies (like hay fever) which are seasonal. If you have a dust mite allergy, your symptoms are often worse in the morning because dust mites tend to live in your bedding, so your exposure is greater when you sleep.
Symptoms of a Dust Mite Allergy
In general, dust mite allergies cause more mild symptoms than a pollen allergy. They can include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy nose and throat
- Sinus pressure or pain
In more severe cases, a dust mite allergy might contribute to symptoms of asthma such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
Seek medical care immediately if you experience worsening shortness of breath or wheezing.
Limiting Your Exposure
While it is impossible to rid your home of dust mites entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce your contact with them.
- Get dust mite covers for your mattress and pillows. You can find them online or check in with a local mattress store.
- Wiping your bedroom floor with a damp cloth.
- When possible, consider hard floors instead of carpet for your home.
- Make sure you have low humidity in your home, especially in damp prone areas like the bathroom or basement.
- Clean and vacuum your home, curtains, and upholstered furniture regularly.
When to Visit an Allergist
If limiting your exposure to dust mites and taking over-the-counter medication doesn’t relieve your symptoms, it’s time to book an appointment with an allergist in Austin. It could be that you need stronger medication or that something else is causing your morning allergies. They only way to find the right treatment is to get an allergy test as soon as possible.