Dust Mites are microscopic organisms that are found everywhere within a household from bedding to carpet and from the upholstery of a couch to doormats. Dust mites are related to spiders and are from the Dermatophagoides family. Dust mites are found all over the world and two to three of its species make up most of its population. Dust mites only multiply in hot and humid conditions, though adequate heating conditions may even make them survive the winters with ease. Dust mites can survive different climatic conditions and can even occur at high altitudes. Dust mites live on the dead skin cells of people which explain their abundance where these particles are most found.
Causes of Dust Allergies
As the name suggest, Dust Mite Allergies are caused by dust mites, which are little microscopic organisms that live in dust particles. These organisms exist wherever dust particles are found, regardless of a particular space. Every individual is not only surrounded by them but are even exposed to them. However, some individuals cannot tolerate the exposure and develop an allergic reaction to them.
An allergic reaction is triggered by the waste protein materials of the dust mites and these can be often seen suspended in the air in the sunlight. An average dust mite produces no less than 2,000 fecal material particles in its life time, which hardly lasts a week. Even dead dust mites can cause an allergic reaction.
Dust mites are not the only reasons behind the development of a dust allergy, as the dust commonly found in our homes, offices and other building contains a number of other materials which can be allergenic in nature. These include fabric fibers, dead skin cells, food particles, small plant particles, insect particles, fungus spores, molds and other impurities.
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Symptoms of Dust Allergies
Before you assume that you dust mite allergy, the following signs and symptoms should be checked. While dust mite allergies can remain asymptomatic, there are several symptoms that can be experienced and can vary from person to person.
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal tract inflammation
- Facial pressure and pain
- Watery eyes
- Itching in the eyes
- Redness of the eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble sleeping with frequent interruptions
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Risk Factors of Dust Mite Allergies
If you are consistently living in a dusty environment, then your risk to develop dust allergies is obviously increased. However, not all people develop dust allergies despite that factor.
People with other members of the family suffering from dust mite allergy are more likely to be affected of it.
People are more likely to develop dust allergies in childhood and early adolescence or adulthood. The sooner the exposure is made to dust mite in a person’s life, the more likely is the development of the dust mite allergy.
Complications of Dust Mite Allergies
The allergic reaction to dust mites can possibly result into several complications. The allergy can possibly develop into serious conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia if not treated.
However, the following are the most major and common complications of dust mite allergy.
Asthma is the inflammation of the airways characterized by dangerous symptoms such as reverse air flow obstruction. Dust mites are the most common cause of asthma. The symptoms of those who already suffer from asthma can become worse on exposure to dust mites.
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Sinus infections are often caused by dust mites since they can block nasal passages, resulting in the inflammation of the sinus cavities. These infections can be chronic in nature.
Hay Fever or Allergic Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nasal passage. Dust mites are one of the triggers of this allergic reaction. The common name of the condition is a misnomer since it does not involve any fever.
Diagnosis of Dust Mite Allergies
The symptoms of dust mite allergies can be easily confused with those of a number of other common conditions such as flu. However, if the physician suspects that the patient has dust mite allergies, then he or she could recommend the following diagnostic tests. Apart from physical examination, which includes the inspection of your nasal lining, a physician could recommend skin allergy tests. In this test, the skin is pricked and if an itchy and red bump appears on the skin as an allergic reaction, then it is a clear sign of a dust mite allergy. If that is not possible, then blood tests are carried out to check for antibodies responsible for allergies. The immunoglobin or the IgE antibody is responsible for the allergy.
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Treatment of Dust Mite Allergies
Dust Mite Allergies Drugs
There are a number of drugs prescribed to the patients of dust allergies, depending on the particular condition and symptoms. Many of these drugs are also used to treat seasonal allergy symptoms.
Flunisolide, Cromolyn Sodium, Budesonide and Montelukast.
Prescribed to lower the allergenic antibodies in the body with drugs such as Loratadine, Desloratadine, Cetirizine and Diphenhydramine.
Prescribed to treat inflammation in rhinitis with drugs such as Pseudophedrine, Phenylephrine and Nasal Corticosteroid Spray.
Prescribed for symptom alleviation and prevention of the release of an immune system chemical triggering allergic reactions.
Prescribed for alleviating several side effects such as dental pain and headache by preventing the release of an immune system chemical.
Immunotherapy involves the injection of certain drugs that train the immune system not to make an allergic reaction to certain triggers. The treatment spans over a period of three to six months involving weekly maintenance shots and is only recommended when other treatment methods do not work.
In the case of sinusitis, nasal irrigation is used which involves the rinsing of your nasal cavity with saline solution using a specially designed instrument for the purpose, commonly known as Neti Pot.
Dust Mite Allergies Prevention
The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to prevent exposure to dust mites as much as possible and it is more effective than any treatment method. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to decrease humidity in your environment. You should reduce the possibility of exposure to dust mites by regular cleaning of your house and ensuring minimum exposure to dust if you are cleaning yourself. Furniture upholstery and carpets are the favorite homes of dust mites and regular cleaning by means of a vacuum cleaner can minimize their occurrence. Ensure that your working space is not cluttered, since that easily traps dust.
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Children are more likely to develop dust mite and other allergies so make sure that you choose the best allergenic foods for babies with possible food allergies. Observe allergy patterns in your baby such as rash, diarrhea and difficulty in breathing and avoid or minimize the use of known allergenic foods such as milk, eggs, fish, soy and wheat.
Minimize contact with objects known to harbor dust mites. Clean surfaces with a damp wipe to remove dust and dust mites. Only purchase the stuff toys which are machine-washable to avoid exposure to dust mites through them. Use allergen-proof bed sheets to avoid frequent allergic reactions.
A little precaution can save you from a lot of pain and discomfort if you have been suffering from dust mite allergies.