You might be allergic to dust mites! The symptoms of an allergy include runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, red or watery eyes, asthma and difficulty in breathing, eczema, cough or hay fever. For children, frequent upward rubbing of the nose could indicate an allergy to dust mites. To confirm a suspected allergy, a doctor will conduct blood tests and skin tests.

Skin cells and scales of dust mites are often found in mattresses, furniture and carpeted areas. Their prime habitat? Beds! A typical mattress may have around 100,000 to 10 million mites inside.

(READ MORE: 10 ways to allergy-proof your home)


1) Reduce humidity inside rooms by opening windows to allow ventilation.

2) Install extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms, and wipe away condensation from windows every day.

3) make sure to wash the sheets, blankets and pillowcases every two weeks. The water used to wash your sheets, blankets and pillowcases should be at least 54 deg C.

4) You can also buy dust-proof or allergen-impermeable covers made of plastic to encase mattresses, pillows and duvets.

5) Remove carpeting, and opt for floor coverings like laminate, wood, tile, linoleum or vinyl flooring instead. If you have carpets, vacuum them every day.

6) If your child is allergic to dust mites, make sure the bedroom is kept tidy and soft toys are stored in a wooden box to prevent them from collecting dust. A useful tip would be to freeze favourite soft toys at least once a week to kill dust mites and then wash the toys to remove allergens.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on May 17, 2016.