Dust Mite Allergy: Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention
The human body is an exquisite piece of cellular machinery. It can regenerate and recuperate according to the situation. It may also create specific responses to changing environmental conditions allowing it to survive and thrive in most cases. Mighty as the human body appears to be, it is still susceptible to even the smallest forms of organic matter. However, these cases are rare, one of the most common causes of internal disruption in the body is allergens. Allergens existed within the surrounding environment and classified as minute substances. While mostly posing no serious problems to a significant amount of the human population, they cause allergies within certain individuals. The allergy is categorized systematically as a threat to the human immune system. Though no real issue may exist, some people possess differences within their structural core, due to which their immune systems recognize the allergens as threatening or harmful substances.
Table of Contents
- What is Dust Mite Allergy
- What Causes Dust Mite Allergy?
- What are the Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy?
- How does a Doctor Diagnose Dust Mite Allergy?
- What is the Treatment for Dust Mite Allergy?
- How can I Prevent Allergic Reactions to Dust Mites?
- Risk Factors
- Appointment Preparation for a Scheduled Doctor Visit
What is Dust Mite Allergy
Of many such allergic reactions, there is one caused by dust mites. Dust mites are bacterial-sized organisms that are most primitive in nature. They are also invisible to the naked eye. Each dust mite can survive in harsh conditions for two to four months depending on heat signatures of the surroundings.
Dust mites are present in households that are more exposed to dust than others. The house dust comprises of a variety of material remnants. Most of these materials are in the form of fibers or particles, such as insects, fungal spores, pet hair, wasted food and broken garden fragments. The mites thrive in these conditions and where the dust within the space is not regularly maintained.
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What Causes Dust Mite Allergy?
The by-product of the waste that the dust mites create causes allergic reactions within the human body. A single dust mite can generate two hundred times its weight in waste during its life. The waste of the dust mite contains a protein classified as an allergen.
What are the Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy?
Symptoms of dust mite allergy are easy to spot. They may be hard to differentiate if they are the response to an allergic reaction or just a typical response to a dust laden environment. There are five major symptoms to spot if an individual is an allergic reaction to dust mites.
- Sneezing is the first and most straightforward response to spotting. Sneezing gets in through a variety of stimuli in nature. It is the most basic human response to any substance entering the windpipe.
- The second symptom would be to spot a runny/ stuffy nose. The cause of a blocked nose is due to blockage of the inner tissues caused by excessive mucous secretion from the nasal glands.
- The third reaction is excessive tearing from the tear ducts and causes redness within the whites of the eyes resulting in itchiness and teary eyes.
- The fourth allergic symptom is the tightening of the chest cavity, portrayed coughing and wheezing. The tightness within the chest restricts breathing due to constriction of the trachea. The results are shortness of the breath.
- The last symptom is itching all over the body.
Triggering of Asthma and Related Experience
Sometimes, allergic reactions trigger an asthmatic attack upon individuals with weaker immune systems. In an asthmatic attack, the muscle around the airways contract. The glands around the trachea then secrete thicker mucous to ease passage within the airways. The muscles also swell up. The process ends up causing the patient to experience difficulty in breathing following by shortness of breath (wheezing). Due to the severe attack an individual may also suffer from;
How does a Doctor Diagnose Dust Mite Allergy?
The professional judge your allergy based on the symptoms that you portray, as all allergic reactions have a particular set of responses that they are unique. The dust mite allergy has a tendency to swell up the tissues within the nasal cavity, which may be discolored of bluish. The doctor may use a flashlight or other instruments to view the nasal cavities primarily, as airborne substances cause most allergies. But, dust mite allergies are most diagnosed through interviewing the patient. Basing their judgments on the answers of the patients, the doctor may ask a series of questions as to where the allergy is worsening and at what times of the day or location. These are the situations where the dust mite allergens would most likely be airborne which may, in turn, start the allergic reaction.
Most of the times, the allergy may be hard to diagnose. There are certain steps to reduce the source allergens within your personal usage space. They may or may not cause a reduction of allergen levels.
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- Skin Prick Test
Specific blood tests exist to uncover hidden allergic reactions within certain individuals. The procedure is called the Skin Prick test. It involves exposing small amounts of purified allergen extracts to excerpts of dust mites. The dust mites conjoin with the allergen extracts to create a dust mite allergen. The laboratory-based composition of dust mite allergen is then pricked upon the forearm of the patient. The doctor must be careful to not prick too far under the skin. The allergen needs to stay below two layers of skin and not to exceed further onwards.
The skin on the forearm (in some cases the back) comes under treatment for the following fifteen minutes. In the event of a persisting dust mite allergy within the patient, small red and itchy bumps will start to form under a swollen undertone upon the chosen spot. The most common side effects of the Skin Prick test are itchiness and redness of the skin. However, you don’t need to worry as these usually recede after thirty minutes.
- Specific IgE Blood Test
The second test for the allergic reaction would be the IgE blood test. The test is useful when a skin condition exists due to certain medications. Extracted blood is sent for screening for specific allergy-causing antibodies. The testing is done for common forms of allergens including dust mites. The test is also able to conclude sensitivity about the allergen that most affects you.
What is the Treatment for Dust Mite Allergy?
Treatment for the dust mite allergy starts with reducing the amount of dust level within the household. By doing so, exposure to dust mites gets low, and thus the allergic reactions are also less severe. However, in certain cases medications may be required to control the symptoms that may be more severe for specific individuals.
- Antihistamines are used to reduce the production of a chemical that is specially produced by the immune system during an actual allergic episode. It also helps to relieve the core symptoms.
- Corticosteroids (nasal spray) to reduce inflammation within the nasal cavity. They also have lower chances of creating side effects.
- Decongestants help to shrink tissue swelling to allow for easier breathing during airway constrictions.
- Leukotriene modifiers are prescribed for extreme cases to block the actions of certain immune system chemicals.
How can I Prevent Allergic Reactions to Dust Mites?
Home remedies may be intimated for those suffering from dust mite allergic reactions. The first step is to change the lifestyle to make it easier to live in the dusty conditions. However, there are many precautions you need to take and use them to live a more comfortable life.
1. Usage of Allergen-proof Bed Covers
You may use allergen-proof bed covers. These are tightly woven fabrics that do not allow dust mites to thrive within the mattress and pillows.
2. Wash Bedding Weekly
Another method would be to wash the bedding regularly using hot water. By doing so, all possibly existing allergens are killed off. If the bedding is not susceptible to washing, you may place the litter within a dryer for twenty minutes at a temperature of 60C which is the optimum temperature for breaking down the function of microorganisms.
3. Washable Stuffed Toys
Buying washable stuffed toys as the material that is used in their production allows for colonies of dust mites to form. Avoid buying those toys.
4. Lowering Humidity
Keeping the humidity level low is another way to reduce dust mite infections. The desired results are achievable by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner.
Vacuuming is an effective way of handling any existing allergens especially when you use a double layered micro-filter bag. Surfaces are removed of dust especially those with the ability to retain under woven fibers (upholstery and furniture).
6. Cut Clutter
Remove clutter (ornaments, books, and other dust retaining items).
Removal of Carpeting and other harboring sources. The most efficient way would also be to remove the carpeting as it retains the highest amount of dust mites one would be able to find within a household.
Individuals are in danger of developing a dust mite allergy if:
- They are of a younger age, as you are more susceptible to developing an allergy while being young.
- If your family has a history of allergies, you are more likely to develop dust mite allergy.
- Exposure to high levels of dust mite increases the risk of allergy, especially early in the life.
Specific complications must be taken into account when dealing with dust mite allergies. Sinus infections can be caused, which can block off airways of the individual. Due to this sinusitis can be generated. The second complications of dust mite allergies are asthma which has already been discussed earlier.
Appointment Preparation for a Scheduled Doctor Visit
It is important for you to visit a doctor and to prepare for the meeting beforehand. You should explicitly list down the symptoms that they have experienced over time-related to any form of allergy. You should also list down any medication you may have been prescribed along with family history associated with allergy and asthma.
You would be advised to create a list of questions that may be related to dust mite allergy. The individual should also create a basic list of questions for the doctor to find out what to do in any situation related to the allergic reaction for emergency purposes.