More people are allergic to dust than people realize. Like most allergens, dust and dust particles trigger an almost immediate reaction from their immune system. For people with dust allergies, even being in a dusty room for less than two minutes can cause an itchy stuffy nose, sneezing, watery red eyes, and in extreme cases, difficulty breathing.

What are the substances found in dust that cause allergies?

There are five major allergens found in dust. These include:

Dust mites

These are the most common allergen found in dust. They are tiny things that can be found all over the house. They are usually in pillows, bedding, mattresses, cushions, carpets and upholstered furniture. Dust mites thrive in warm humid places and this is where they multiply easily. Their ideal temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit and above, and they love being in 75 to 80 percent humidity. They however die when humidity goes below 50 percent.

Dust mites float in the air at the slightest disturbance, including walking, sitting or even vacuuming. This is how they get into your respiratory tract causing a reaction. Their tiny size makes them very hard to clean, since they are not easily visible. In fact, a rigorous cleaning could agitate them making it worse for someone with dust allergies. They are one of the main causes of asthma in children.

Cockroaches

Yes, you read that right. Cockroaches could be causing your dust allergies to flare up. These are some of the most common household pests. Pieces of their skin, and sometimes their fecal matter, may be floating around in the air. This is why it is important to fumigate your house and keep your air ducts clean.

Mold

Mold is a fungus found mainly in damp environments such as bathrooms and kitchens. Being a fungus, it reproduces by means of spores, which are released into the air. These spores are sometimes too minute to be seen by the naked eye. The spores are then inhaled, causing allergic reactions in people with mold allergies.

Pollen

Pollen is found wherever plants exist. It is released by trees, flowers, weeds and even grass. It then floats around in the air and when inhaled, can cause allergic reactions. The tricky thing about pollen is different types trigger different allergies. You may be fine with roses, but react to daisies, or wild grass. This makes it difficult to identify, isolate, and treat the allergy, since there are so many pollen variants in the air.

Pet hairs

When pets shed, flakes of their skin combine with household dust and float around. Their saliva, and urine can also get attached to dust particles and all these combine to form a very powerful irritant to the respiratory system. Households with birds are actually more likely to cause dust allergies to flare up, as skin flakes, feathers, and bird droppings float around in the dust.

As it turns out, dust allergies aren’t triggered by dust. Instead, you react to allergens hiding inside the dust. These include pollen, mold, cockroach particles, pet hairs, bird waste, and dust mites.