Dust Mite Allergy

Dust Mite Allergy: Causes, Picture, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dust mite allergy as the name suggests, is the allergic reaction triggered by the tiny bugs. The small bugs live in your house dust. It can cause severe reactions in your body, including sneezing or runny nose. You feel like having other health problem like hay fever, which has the same symptoms. Severe allergic reactions include wheezing as well as difficulty in breathing. Therefore, you need to seek immediate treatment for the problem. With proper medical attention, you can manage the allergic reaction. Read ahead to get an idea about the problem. It will help you necessary steps to deal with the issue properly.

What Is Dust Mite Allergy?

Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites are small, microscopic organisms. They are considered as the closest relatives of spiders and ticks. You cannot see the organisms with your naked eye and it requires a microscope to detect their presence. The organisms thrive in warm, humid environments like your home. Your dead skin cells (discarded) act as the food for the dust mites. The dust mites live in areas like carpets, upholstered furniture, or bedding. The places offer an ideal environment for the dust mites to live and flourish. When your skin comes in contact with the microorganisms or you inhale them, it can result in the allergic reaction. So, you need to take steps to reduce the presence of dust mites. By reducing the number of dust mites and taking medications, you can manage the dust mite allergy.

Symptoms Of Dust Mite Allergy

When you inhale the dust mote, it can cause inflammation of your nasal passage. The signs depend on the severity of the problem. You can experience mild to severe signs due to the problem. The mild signs may not trigger problems that can affect your life adversely. So, you can experience the following signs due to mild dust mite allergy:

Severe dust mite allergy can trigger asthma attacks. So, you can experience signs like:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Chest tightness
  • An audible wheezing or whistling sound while breathing out (exhale)
  • Shortness of breath interrupting sleep
  • Lack of sleep due to wheezing or coughing
  • Facial pressure
  • Persistent sneezing

The mild symptoms of dust mite allergy resemble common cold or flu. So, it becomes difficult to determine the exact cause of the problem. If you experience the signs associated with the problem for than a week, then you need to see a doctor. It indicates you have an allergic reaction. Some people can suffer from severe signs associated with the allergy. It can trigger asthma attacks or trouble of breathing. It is necessary to seek medical help immediately when you get breathless with a simple activity or cause a problem with your sleep pattern. See your doctor immediately when the signs start to affect your normal functioning. It requires medical management to alleviate the problem.

Causes Of Dust Mite Allergy

The presence of dust mites in your home can trigger the allergic reaction. In most cases, allergies occur due to the reaction of your immune system to foreign objects or substances. So, substances like pet dander, pollen or dust mites can trigger an adverse reaction. It is due to the fact that your immune system produces antibodies. Antibodies are protein, which protects the body from unwanted invaders. The unwanted invaders can cause infection or make you sick. During an allergic reaction, the immune system mistakes a particular allergen as harmful to the body. While the allergens may not cause any harm to your body, the immune system releases antibodies. The antibodies can produce an inflammatory response in your lungs or nasal passage leading to several adverse physical symptoms. Regular or prolonged exposure to any allergens can result in chronic inflammation triggering asthma.

Causes Of Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites, mostly survive on the skin cells you have shed. It also absorbs the humidity from the atmosphere instead of drinking water. So, it can leave feces in the dust. The dust can also contain decaying bodies of the dust mites. When you inhale the dust containing such substances, it triggers an allergic reaction. The dust mite debris contains specific protein, which can cause your immune system to react. So, you can suffer from the allergy triggered by the dust mites.

Risk Factors Associated With Dust Mite Allergy

Not everyone suffers from the dust mite allergy. The following factors can elevate your risk of developing the allergy due to dust mites:

Family History

If you have one or more family members with the allergy, then you can develop the problem. It puts you at risk of developing the allergy in the future.

Frequent Exposure To Dust Mites

The high levels of dust mites in your home or surroundings can put you at risk of developing the allergy. It makes you sensitive to the dust mites.

Exposure During Childhood

Children or young adult, exposed to dust mites can develop the allergy. The possibility of developing the allergy at a young age is high.

You need to take utmost care if you have a high possibility of developing the allergy. It is better to take precautionary measures to manage the problem,

Complications Due To Dust Mite Allergy

People suffering from dust mite allergy can suffer from complications due to the exposure to the mites or their debris. Therefore, you can suffer from the following adverse effects:

Sinus Infections

Sinus Infections

The chronic or ongoing inflammation in your nasal passages can obstruct the sinuses. You can suffer from inflammation of tissues in your nasal passage due to the exposure. So, dust mite allergy can block the hollow cavities connected to your nasal passages (sinuses). It leads to sinusitis.

Trouble Managing Asthma Signs

People who already suffer from asthma can find it difficult to manage the symptoms triggered due to dust mite allergy. The allergy can cause frequent asthma attacks. So, you need immediate medical care to treat the condition.

Diagnosis Of Dust Mite Allergy

When you experience different signs associated with the allergy, you need to see your doctor. In most cases, the signs can feel similar to problems like hay fever. So, you may ignore it. But, if you experience the problem for more than a week, then see your doctor. Based on your symptoms, your doctor can perform the following tests to detect the problem conclusively:

Physical Assessment

Based on the symptoms you show, your doctor can perform a physical assessment. Your doctor uses a lighted instrument to check your nasal lining. It confirms an allergic reaction due to airborne substances. If the nasal passage lining looks swollen with bluish or pale color, then your doctor can confirm the allergic reaction.

Understand Your Condition Better

Your doctor can ask questions to determine your medical history and the condition of your home better. If you experience an allergic reaction while cleaning or going to bed, then the doctor suspects a dust mite allergy. Having a pet at home can make it difficult to understand the exact reason for your allergy. Some people may experience an allergic reaction due to pet hair. But, most are unaware of the condition. Your doctor asks several questions about your home to determine if dust mites in the air trigger the allergy.

Allergy Skin Test

Allergy Skin Test

It is the test that can provide comprehensive information on the exact substance that triggers your allergy. So, your doctor can suggest the test. You need to see an allergist, the allergy specialist for undergoing the test. With the test, your skin surface gets pricked with purified allergen extracts. The forearm or upper back is the ideal location for the tests. After pricking your skin surface, the doctor waits for fifteen minutes. Your skin surface is monitored closely to check signs for allergic reaction.

Allergy Skin Test

If you are allergic to dust mites, then you can see a red and itchy bump on the area pricked with dust mite extract. So, you can experience itching and redness in the pricked area of your skin. The side effects of the test can fade away within thirty minutes. It is due to the exposure of the dust mites in a very small area.

Allergy Blood Test

People suffering some other skin condition cannot undergo allergy skin tests. Others take medications that can affect the test results adversely. In such cases, your doctor can suggest an alternative test to detect the problem. The blood test screens for specific antibodies triggered by various common allergens. It can also detect the allergic reaction due to dust mites. The test can also provide information on your sensitivity to specific allergens.

Treatment To Overcome Dust Mite Allergy

When you seek treatment from your doctor, the medical professional offers you the advice to stay away from dust mites as much as possible. By limiting your exposure to dust mites, you experience fewer or fewer reactions. So, you can control the severity of your allergic reaction. As it is impossible to eliminate dust mites completely from your environment, your doctor can suggest treatment options to manage it. So, your doctor can suggest taking the following medications to control the signs associated with the allergy:

Allergy Medications

The treatment mainly focuses on improving the symptoms of nasal allergy symptoms. So, your doctor can suggest medications like:

Antihistamines

The medications can reduce the chemical produced by your immune system during an allergic reaction. So, it can reduce the severity associated with the problem. You can get relief from sneezing, itching or runny nose. The over-the-counter comes in oral pill as well as syrup form. The prescription antihistamine comes in the form of a nasal spray.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids come in the form of a nasal spray. It can reduce the symptoms associated with the allergic reaction including inflammation. The nasal form of corticosteroids has a low dose of the drug. So, it has low side effects compared to the oral form of corticosteroids.

Decongestants

The medication helps you breathe easier. So, decongestants can shrink the swollen tissues in the nasal passage. You can take the over-the-counter allergy tablet, which contains a combination of decongestant and antihistamine. People with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or glaucoma must avoid oral decongestant. As oral decongestant can trigger side effects, you need to talk to your doctor before taking it.

Decongestants

You can opt for over-the-counter decongestants available in the form of a nasal spray. It can reduce allergy symptoms due to dust mites for a short period of time. Taking it for more than three days consecutively can worsen nasal congestion.

Leukotriene Modifiers

The medication can successfully block the action of chemicals produced by your immune system. In most cases, your doctor prescribes the medication in tablet form. But, you must know the side-effects associated with taking the medication. It includes:

Behavior and mood changes occur only in rare cases. So, they are the less common side effects associated with the medication.

Other Therapies For Managing Dust Mite Allergy

Apart from medications, you can also try alternative therapies to manage the symptoms associated with dust mite allergy. The effective therapies to deal with the problem are:

Immunotherapy

It is the method that trains your immune system to reduce the sensitivity to allergens like dust mite. You get a series of shots known as immunotherapy. The allergy shots taken once or twice a week exposes you to small doses of dust mite protein. The dose of the allergen is gradually increased within three to six month period. You need maintenance shots every four weeks to manage the problem. It is important to take the shots for a minimum of three to five year period. In most cases, your doctor suggests immunotherapy when other treatments fail to offer you relief.

Nasal Irrigation

 Nasal Irrigation

You can clear the nasal passage from mucus using a neti pot to flush the thick mucus as well as irritants. It is ideal to use salt water or saline rinse to clear the mucus. If you do not have a neti pot, you can use a specially designed squeeze bottle. It is always ideal to use contaminant-free water to prepare the saline solution. So, use distilled and sterile water. Previously boiled, cooled, and filtered water also works well. Remember to use a filter with 1 micron or less pore size. Clean the irrigation device with contaminant-free water. You need to air dry it before using it again.

Home Remedies To Overcome Dust Mite Allergy

You need to avoid the exposure to dust mites to prevent severe reactions. It is one of the best strategies to control dust mite allergy. It is impossible to eliminate dust mites completely from your home. But, you can take steps to reduce the number of dust mites. Here are some of the steps to control dust mites:

Allergen-Proof Bed Covers

You need to use allergen-proof bed covers. The allergen-blocking or dustproof covers can keep the dust and dust mites away. The covers are made of tightly woven fabric. It prevents the dust mites from escaping or colonizing from your pillows or mattress. You must also encase your box springs in such covers.

Wash Bedding Every Week

You need to wash your bedding including bedcovers, pillowcases, blankets, and sheets in hot water at least once every week. Use hot water (above 54.4C/130F) to kill dust mites as well as other allergens from the beddings. If you cannot wash the beddings in hot water, then you need to put the items in the dryer. Using the dryer at a temperature above 54.4C/130F for at least fifteen minutes can kill the mites. You can then wash the bedding and dry it to remove allergens completely. While freezing the non-washable item for twenty-four hours can kill dust mites, it does not remove all allergens.

Maintain Low Humidity

You can maintain a relative humidity level of 50% in your home. You can use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain the necessary humidity level. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels. So, find a hygrometer at your local hardware stores to keep track of the humidity levels.

Ideal Bedding

You need to maintain caution while choosing your bedding. Try to avoid bedcovers, which traps dust with ease. You cannot clean them frequently. So, you need to opt for ones that do not trap dust.

Opt Right Toys

Opt Right Toys

While picking out toys for your children, you need to make the right selection. Buy washable stuffed toys. You can easily wash them in hot water to remove the dust. Keep the stuffed toys off the beds to prevent dust mites.

Eliminate Dust

You need to remove dust from your home. Use an oiled or damp rag/mop to clean the dust from the surfaces. Using dry materials to clean the dust can make them become airborne and result in resettling.

Regular Vacuuming

Regular Vacuuming

You need to consider vacuuming your upholstered furniture and carpets to remove the dust settled on the surface. In most cases, the normal vacuum cleaner may not remove dust must or dust mite allergens. Therefore, use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter or double-layered micro-filter bag. It reduces house-dust emissions. If you have severe allergies, then ask assistance from others or professional company to vacuum the room. Wait for at least two hours before going back to the room. So, it can avoid dust mite allergy.

Reduce Clutter

If unwanted items in your home, which collects dust, then remove it. You must remove books, magazines, old newspaper, and other knickknacks that can collect dust and trigger allergy.

Remove Dust Mite Habitats

You need to keep your home free from habitats. So, remove the main habitats of dust mites that offers a comfortable place for the microorganisms to flourish. Check areas like carpets, especially the ones placed over concrete. It is due to the fact that it can hold moisture and offer a humid environment for the dust mites to grow. Try to replace carpeting (wall-to-wall) from vinyl, linoleum, wood or tile flooring. Curtains, blinds, and upholstered furniture can collect dust. So, the dust mites can reside in such areas. Therefore, replace the dust-collecting furnishings.

High-Efficiency Media Filters

You can try installing high-efficiency media filters in your air conditioning unit or furnace. When you leave the fan on it acts as the air filter for the whole house. So, you can keep off the dust mites from affecting you. You need to change the filter every three months to improve its efficiency.

Conclusion

Dust mite allergy can cause severe discomfort. But, you can control the dust mites responsible for the problem with a little work. With some effort, you can eliminate the microorganisms or reduce its numbers. So, you can avoid exposure to allergens. If you suffer from the allergic reaction due to dust mites, then work with your allergist. The professional can help you determine the best practices and treatment options to manage the symptoms better.

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