If you often wake up from bed with runny nose, itchy eyes or stuffy nose, then it’s highly likely that you are suffering from dust mite allergies. Almost 20 million Americans suffer from this condition.
Dust mites and allergies are almost inseperable! Dust mites are among the most common causes of all year round allergies. And people with this allergy tend to feel they have endless cold and asthma. The symptoms recur almost on daily bases.
WHAT ARE DUST MITES?
Dust mites are tiny organisms that can only be seen under a microscope. They have eight legs. And are from the families of spiders. They measure about just one-quarter to one-third of a millimetre.
Thier life cycles consists of several stages. And depending on the particular species, it usually takes two to five weeks for an adult mite to mature from its egg.
The female dust mite can produce up to hundred eggs in its life time. And they live for about two to four months.
WHERE DO DUST MITES LIVE
Dust mites live and thrive at many places in your home. They can be found in your carpets, stuffed toys, mattresses and upholstered furniture.
Though studies have shown that they love your bedroom the most. Especially your mattresses.
Dust mites are attracted to dead skin cells shed by humans. A normal person sheds about 1.5 grams of dead skin daily. A quantity enough to feed about one million dust mites.
They thrive most in relatively humidity of about 70-80 percent. A temperature of 70 F is ideal for thier growth.
DUST MITE ALLEEGY.
Dust mites produce a lot og waste around your home. The protein in the waste products and body parts of these little spiders are allergens; they trigger allergic reaction.
Even common dust in your home can carry the waste products of these mites. And if you are sensitive to mites , any time you come into contact with such dust , you will experience allergy symptoms.
Dust mites die under low humidity or extreme temperatures, but thier waste products (allergens) will be left behind.
So even in death, the dust mite is still troublesome!
SYMPTOMS OF DUST MITES ALLERGY.
There are so many symptoms of dust mite allergies. Some of them are similar to those of pollen allergy.
Allergens from dust mites can cause an inflammation of your nasal passages. And when this happenes, the following symptoms occur;
– postnasal drip
– nasal congestion
– runny, itcy nose
– watery , red or itchy eyes
Dust mites can also trigger asthma symptoms such as
– chest tightness or pain
– wheezing or a whistle sound when breathing out
– shortness of breath and coughing which might obstruct your sleep
– difficulty in breathing
WHY YOU SHOULD TACKLE YOUR DUST MITES ALLERGY
The symptoms of dust mite allergies range from mild to severe. Mild cases might not require you to do anything but in some severe cases, an emergency health care might be needed.
So you shouldn’t take your dust mite allergy lightly.
Also dust mite allergies can lead to the following complications;
Asthmatics with dust mite allergies usually struggles to manage both conditions. And such people may be at risk of asthma attack. A serious situation that requires an immediate medical attention.
b. Sinus infection;
Dust mites allergy often block nasal passages by causing inflammation of the tissues around that place. The inflammation can block the hollow cavities connected to the nasal passages. This provides conducive grounds for infections to develop.
WHEN TO SEE YOUR PHYSICIAN
The symptoms of dust mite can resemble that of common cold sometimes. And people don’t always find it easy differentiating between the two.
If your symptoms persist for more than one week , It’s likely that you suffer from dust mite allergies and not common cold.
Call your doctor immediately if your symptoms are severe. Symptoms such as severe nasal congestion, difficulty in sleeping and severe shortness of breath needs urgent medical help.
TREATMENT OF DUST MITES ALLERGY
There are so many treatment options for dust mite allergies. But bear in mind that the best treatment is to limit your exposure to these tiny organisms. We will talk about prevention later.
For now below are some of the treatment options for dust mite allergies;
these medications are ideal for runny nose, itching and sneezing. Antihistamines work by reducing the production of chemicals tha are active in allergic reactions.
They come in the form of tables, syrups or sprays. The most common ones are Allegra Allergy , Alavert, Zyrtec, Astelin and Patanase.
– Leukotriene modifiers ;
These drugs also block the actions of chemicals in your immune system.
Fever, upper respiratory infections and headache are some of its side effects.
We have both nasal and oral corticosteroids. Nasal corticosteroids are preferred over oral corticosteroids because they contain low dose and as a result they have less side effects.
It’s usually used to control inflammation and symptoms of hay fever. Flonase, Nasonex, Nasacort Allergy 24HR and Omnaris are some of the most common ones of corticosteroids.
Decongestants are used to reduce the swollen tissues in the nasal passages. And There by easing breathing.
This drug can increase your blood pressure if taken orally. So those with high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases as well as glaucoma should avoid oral decongestants.
Also men with enlarged prostate need to avoid this drug. It can worsen thier condition.
You shouldn’t use this drug for a long period of time.
OTHER TREATMENT OPTION.
Medications don’t usually provide complete relief for some people with dust mite allergies. Such people should consider immunotherapy.
With this treatment option you can train your immune system not to react to certain allergens. This is done by taking allergy shots ( dust mite allergens) every one to two weeks for some few years. Many people get relief form of treatment.
HOW TO PREVENT DUST MITES ALLERGY.
Prevention is always the best policy. There are so many ways you can employ to seriously limit your exposure to dust mites and thereby preventing the possibility of dust mites allergy.
Some people think that having a clean house is the solution to dust mites allergy. No. It’s not. No matter how clean your house is , house mites can always find thier way in.
Below are some of the most effective preventive measures you can take against dust mites in your home;
1. Use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers;
As we stated earlier , dust mites love your mattress. So get a mattress cover with pores that are too small for them to get into your mattress. There are so many of such mattress protectors these days. Some of them are made of polyester. One of the best materials for making hypoallergenic products
Avoid any bedcovers that capture and trap allergens easily.
2. Wash your bedding every week
You can kill dust mites by using a hot water of about 130F to wash your bedding.
You should wash all your pillowcases, blankets , sheets and bedcovers at least once every week in order to achieve maximum effects.
In case your bedding can’t be washed , you can put your bedding in a dryer at a temperature above 130F for at least 15 minutes to kill the mites and remove allergens.
3. Maintain low humidity in your home
Dust mites can’t survive low humidity. Keep a relative humidity below 50 percent in your home to inhibit thier growth. You can consider either an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to keep your home humidity low. You can also purchase a hygrometer for measuring the humidity at your home.
4. Remove all dust mites habitats in your home.
Carpets are some of main habitats of dust mites. Remove wall to wall carpeting in your bedroom. You can replace them with tile, wood, linoleum or flooring.
Also nonwashable curtains should be removed from your bedroom. Use roll type shades on your windows instead.
Upholstered furniture, blinds and down filled covers and pillows should also be removed from your bedroom.
5. Vacuum clean often
Vacuuming cleaning regularly might help reduce dust in your home. It’s recommended to use vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters. HEPA filters capture and trap allergens very easily.
But remember that vacuum cleaning May not be enough to remove large amount of dust mites. As they live deep inside mattress, pillows and carpeting.
You can have someone clean your bedroom for you if your allergies are severe. Or you may wear a filtering mask while cleaning.
Dust mites are really notorious organisms. You can’t afford to ignore them. Thier health burden is significant.
Following the measures we outlined in the latter part of this post will help you and your family do away with dust mites allergies.