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Dust Mite Allergy

Dust Mite Allergy

Allergy to dust mites is very common; it can trigger asthma and cause eczema, chronic sinusitis, and other respiratory conditions. In this article, we will take a look at the different symptoms and treatment of dust mite allergy.
Rutuja Jathar
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018
House dust mites are small arthropods that actually belong to the same class (Arachnida) as that of spiders and scorpions. Dust mites are off-white in color and are sized hardly more than 300 microns, which makes them invisible to the naked eye, unless magnified.
Dust mites feed mainly on organic detritus, such as human dead skin and dander. As dust mites survive on dead skin, the ideal spots where they can feed are beds, blankets, mattresses, bed sheets, and towels. Although they thrive in warm and humid conditions, dust mites survive even in dry climates.
How do Dust Mites Cause Allergy?

Allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to certain substances. The feces or waste of dust mites contains a protein, which is an allergen. When this is inhaled, or when it comes in contact with the skin, the body produces antibodies. This causes the release of chemicals called histamines, which leads to inflammation and irritation of the upper respiratory tract.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy

Other than causing skin irritation and itchiness, dust mites can cause some other symptoms, such as:
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Irritation in nose and throat
  • Scratchy throat
  • Red, watery, and swollen eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
Prolonged exposure to dust mites can lead to asthma, sinusitis, and eczema. These symptoms may become more pronounced after dusting and vacuuming. However, you need to know that not everyone is allergic to dust mites, there are people who display absolutely no symptom on dust mite contact.
How to Prevent Dust Mite Allergic Reaction

The only effective way to prevent allergies from dust mites is to get rid of them, or to prevent exposure to dust mites. Although it is difficult to completely get rid of them, there are some simple precautions that you can take to reduce them and avoid such allergies.
  • Wash bed covers, pillow covers, blankets and drapes at least once a month with hot water (you will need to do that more often if your house is already infested with dust mites).
  • Enclose mattresses with plastic covers to prevent allergy.
  • Replacing feather-filled pillows with those of synthetic materials can also prove useful.
  • Dust mites grow vigorously in humid and moist conditions. Such humid conditions can be controlled with the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
  • Using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can also prove useful in trapping dust mite feces which causes allergies. However, complete dependence on these filters is not advised as they only clear the air and are not capable of removing dust mites that are burrowed in mattresses or your linen.
  • Frequent dusting of furniture with a damp cloth instead of a duster will reduce the growth of dust mites.
  • If you have stuffed toys in your home, then wash them regularly.
  • If you have severe and chronic allergies from dust mites, then it is a good idea to remove carpets and replace curtains with blinds.

Treatment

Dust mites survive in any kind of climate, but places having humidity higher than normal, can prove to be a great shelter for these mites. If the controlling measures for dust mites are not helpful and you, or one of your family members are still suffering from allergies, then you need to see a doctor.
  • Doctors usually prescribe medications, such as antihistamines to relieve the symptoms of allergy, such as itching, sneezing, and inflammation and redness of skin. Some of these are also available over the counter.
  • Application of hydrocortisone cream can sooth skin irritations, inflammation, and redness of the skin.
  • For people suffering from symptoms, such as blocked nose, decongestants are usually prescribed.
Some factors, such as allergies running in the family and exposure to dust mites at an early age, increases the risk of developing dust mite allergies. It is best to take all precautions by keeping your place clean, dry, and relatively cool, and getting your fabrics washed on a regular basis.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.