People who have year-round allergy symptoms may have an allergy to one of many substances found in dust. These include pollen, animal dander, mold spores and dust mites. Dust mites, insects which are too small to see with the naked eye, are a common culprit in dust allergies because they are difficult to eliminate. The main sign of dust allergies is that the symptoms are not as pronounced outside the house.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, about 10 percent of people have an allergy to dust mites, and dust mites are the primary cause of year-round allergy symptoms. The primary signs are feeling congested and sneezing upon awakening, because pillows and beds typically have a lot of dust mites. Unless pillows and linens are washed in very hot water every week, it is difficult to eliminate dust mites. People allergic to dust mites also may wake up during the night short of breath, or wheezing or coughing. They may have a runny or stuffy nose throughout the day as well.
Pollen, which drifts into the house through windows and settles as dust, can cause hay fever symptoms. These include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing and a scratchy or sore throat. Often the person feels like he has a cold. He may be tired and experience mental fogginess.
Other symptoms associated with any of the types of dust allergies include an itchy nose or roof of mouth, postnasal drip, and sinus pressure and pain. The person may have red, watery and itchy eyes, and swollen dark circles under the eyes. Skin rashes also can develop.
A person with a dust allergy may have difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, or a whistling or wheezing sound when breathing, particularly when exhaling. These symptoms become worse when the allergy sufferer has a cold or the flu.
People can determine the exact cause of their dust allergies by having a skin test done by an allergist. Some allergies can be improved by keeping windows closed and not hanging laundry outside during the seasons when pollen or mold are more common. Frequent cleaning with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner filter and furnace filter, and running an air purifier, can prevent allergy symptoms. Because dust particulates, and particularly dust mites, are common in fabric, it's best to avoid having carpeting, drapes, curtains and wall hangings in the house. Wood and tile floors,and window shades or blinds are excellent substitutes.