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Video: Allergy To Dust Mites: What Risk Factors And Symptoms?
2023 Author: Lynn Laird | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:49
If you are prone to hay fever, you sneeze and your nose is runny, it does not have to be seasonal. It could be an allergic reaction to tiny insects that usually live in house dust. Since the list of intolerances is long and our editorial staff has already focused on sun allergy and food allergies, this article will focus on that to dust mites. Primarily, it is a form of hypersensitivity, represented as an inflammatory reaction. Admitting that this is a multi-faceted disease, we will try to raise the curtain of dust mite allergy to define desensitization treatments.
Allergy to dust mites: who are the offending?
For your information, mites are small arthropods belonging to the Arachnida class and the Acari subclass, grouping together ticks, spiders and scorpions. As shown in the scientific discipline devoted to the study of mites, acarology, the bugs are tiny measuring more than 1 mm in length. As a result of a simple, unsegmented body plan, they are often almost invisible and overlooked.
Some species are aquatic, others feel good in the soil playing the role of decomposers, some live in symbiosis with plants and there is a fourth species which are predators or parasites. In any case, most species are harmless to humans, although a few are blamed for causing an allergy to mites transmitting diseases.
The comfortable environment of dust mites
By the way, unnoticed without a microscope, mites inhabit hot and humid places, favorable to their development and abundant in skin cells. So bedding, especially mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting, and rugs are the realm of dust mites. As you are unsure of which mattress to choose for the nursery or for your own, we recommend the hypoallergenic type of filling, that is, an anti-mite mattress. Grandma's tips for cleaning a mattress prove to be good prevention of dust mite allergy.
What are the symptoms of a dust mite allergy?
Although we have already mentioned that some of the symptoms of dust mite allergy are the same as those of seasonal flu or hay fever, if they are frequent, they should be taken into account. Consulting an allergist to perform an allergy mite symptoms test becomes a priority task. Many people who are allergic to dust mites have signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
By taking steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home, you can control the allergy to these intruders. Sometimes medications or other treatments are needed to relieve symptoms and manage asthma.
Groups of symptoms shown if you have a dust mite allergy
Usually, a dust mite allergy can range from mild to severe. So, a mild case can cause an occasional runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. In severe cases, the disease may be continuous (chronic), resulting in persistent sneezing, coughing, congestion, facial pressure, or severe asthma attack.
According to the organs suffering during an intolerance to arachnid insects, the symptoms can be grouped as follows:
Nasal and respiratory tract
- A runny nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Post-nasal secretions
- A persistent cough and difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Bouts of coughing or wheezing that may be made worse by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu
- Audible wheezing or wheezing when exhaling
- Itchy nose, mouth, or throat
- Facial pressure and pain
- Blue-colored swollen skin under your eyes
- In a child, frequent rubbing of the nose upwards
- Mite bites
- Mite buttons
If your dust mite allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience a sleep disorder caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing.
When is the visit to the doctor compulsory?
Since some of the signs and symptoms of allergy to dust mites, like a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of the common cold, it is difficult to diagnose without medical tests and tests what exactly you have. If symptoms persist for more than a week, you may be allergic to dust mites.
Suppose your signs and symptoms are severe, such as a stubborn nasal congestion, wheezing, or difficulty sleeping, call your doctor. Seek emergency care if the wheezing or shortness of breath worsens quickly or if you are short of breath with minimal activity.
What can be the causes of a dust mite allergy?
In general, allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, animal dander or dust mites. Your immune system makes proteins called antibodies that protect you from unwanted invaders that can make you sick or cause infection. When you are tested for any allergy, the antibodies made identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even if it is not. The moment you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system produces an inflammatory response in your nasal passages or lungs. Prolonged or regular exposure to the allergen can cause continuous (chronic) inflammation associated with asthma.
As already mentioned, mites feed on organic material such as skin cells shed by people and, rather than drinking water, they absorb water from moisture in the atmosphere. Since dust also contains the feces and decaying bodies of mites, the proteins in this mite “debris” are the cause of mite allergy.
Common risk factors
Among the possible risk factors in case of allergy to dust mites, we can mention:
- Have a family history of allergies. This means that if several members of your family are allergic to any type of intolerance, you are more likely to develop sensitivity to dust mites than not.
- Exposure to dust mites. In case you are exposed to high levels of mites, especially early in life, the risk may increase.
- Be a child or young adult. You are more likely to develop a dust mite allergy during childhood or early adulthood.
At what complications can be expected?
As with allergy sufferers, exposure to dust mites and their debris can lead to complications. For example, it is not excluded to be subject to:
- Sinus infections. Assuming chronic inflammation persists, it can damage tissue in the nasal passages and clog your sinuses. These blockages can make you more likely to develop sinus infections (sinusitis).
- Asthma. People with asthma and dust mite allergy often have difficulty coping with the associated symptoms. They may be at risk for asthma attacks requiring immediate medical treatment or emergency care.
When you breathe in mite waste, your immune system shifts into high gear, producing antibodies against normally harmless substances. Then this overzealous immune response causes the associated symptoms and you start to sneeze and blow your nose.
According to indulgent statistics, millions of people are affected by this type of allergy.
What is a test to diagnose dust mite allergies?
Primarily, the most common type of test is a prick test. During the test, the allergist pricks an area of the skin with a small extract of the allergen. Then wait about 15 minutes to see if any negative reactions result. In case a dust mite allergy pimple appears around the stung area of the skin, it may turn red and itchy. This reaction means that there is sensitization, that is, an allergy.
Sometimes a blood test is used instead of a skin test, but note that it can only test for antibodies, so the results may not be as accurate.
Desensitization or how to treat an allergy to dust mites?
Certainly, the best treatment option is to limit your exposure to dust mites. If that doesn't work, there are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve associated symptoms, for example, antihistamines that can relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness. In the list, you can add:
- nasal corticosteroids which can reduce inflammation while offering fewer side effects than their oral counterparts
- decongestants which in turn can shrink the tissues in the nasal passages and thus make breathing easier. Sometimes an antihistamine and a decongestant can be combined for best results.
Other treatments that may provide relief include: sodium cromolyn, immunotherapy, also known as allergy vaccines, leukotriene modifiers. However, the latter increases the risk of serious side effects on mental health, such as suicidal thoughts and actions. For this reason, it should only be used when other suitable allergy medications are not available.
Prevention of dust mite allergies
Although dust mite allergies are stubborn and persistent, the good news is that they are controllable. Fortunately, this is not a losing battle for people with dust mite allergies. You can take the following steps to make sure your bed stays free:
- Use anti-allergenic bedspreads on the mattress, box spring and pillows. Zippered blankets are best because their tightly woven fabric prevents dust mites from entering the beds.
- Wash all bedding in hot water at least once a week. This includes sheets, pillow cases, blankets and bedspreads. Dry in a hot dryer or in natural sunlight during the summer months.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep your home's relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can also learn how to remove mold from different surfaces.
- Purchase a high efficiency (HEPA) air filter.
- Buy only washable plush toys and wash them often. Keep stuffed toys out of beds.
- Dust frequently with a damp or oiled towel. This helps minimize the amount of dust and prevents it from building up.
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter. A person with a dust mite allergy should get someone else to do the job.
- Get rid of clutter where dust collects.
- Clean curtains and upholstered furniture often.
- Replace the carpet with a hardwood, tile, linoleum or vinyl floor if possible and learn a few tricks for cleaning carpet.
- Do not overheat your home, because temperatures over 23˚ promote the proliferation of dust mites.
- Do not allow your pet to enter the bedroom and climb onto the bed. One solution for him to be isolated and more independent is to make a tipi for him in a corner of the house.
There are several anti-mite products and sprays that effectively repel insects from your furry friends and your home.
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