If you sometimes find yourself sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itching, short of breath or stuck with a runny nose and itchy eyes, you could have an allergy to dust. These allergies can be triggered by more than just dust — dust mites, mold, pollen, pet hair or cockroaches can all trigger dust allergy symptoms as well. Taking a few steps can help to manage this type of allergies.

Management

Adding a special filter to your air conditioning unit and furnace can make it so there’s less dust in the air. There are also special covers that can be used on pillows and mattresses to keep them from getting filled with dust mites, although it’s still a good idea to frequently clean all bed linens in hot water. People with dust allergies can benefit from removing any carpet from the floors in favor of wood flooring and limiting exposure to pets. Keeping the home at a lower humidity level of below 55 percent is another way to limit allergy symptoms. Having a lower humidity level will limit the formation of mold and mildew.

Treatment

A skin test can verify the source of the allergy symptoms. Should allergy symptoms become particularly bad, medications may be necessary to treat them. In some cases, allergy shots can help to improve a person’s immunity to the triggers. Antihistamines and decongestants are the most common medications prescribed to allergy sufferers, although corticosteroids can help as well. If over-the-counter options aren’t producing the desired reduction in symptoms, a doctor may prescribe stronger prescription versions of these medications.

Cleaning Considerations

While it’s important to clean often to limit dust, the very process of cleaning tends to cause more dust to rise up into the air and could cause symptoms to appear or worsen. It may be best to have someone without an allergy do the cleaning while the allergic person is absent since the increase of dust in the air can last for two or more hours. Should a person with a dust allergy need to clean, it may be best to do so while wearing a filter mask and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to limit dust exposure.