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    Doctors Note :

    What is house dust mite allergy?

    Dust mite allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to proteins in the excretion of dust mites. The protein attacks the respiratory passages causing any of the following conditions:

  • Hay fever
  • Chronic rhinitis (runny nose)
  • Asthma
  • atopic dermatitis
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Snoring
  • Chronic cough
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Dust mites are found in all homes. These microscopic organisms live off of human skin cells and thrive in warm and humid houses. Dust mites live in beds where there is a concentration of the perfect elements for life: a lot of food and a warm humid environment. About a third of our lives are spent in bed and this is where we inhale large quantities of dust mite allergens.

    How do you become allergic to house dust mites?

    The excretion of the mites contains a number of protein substances which we react to. When inhaled, or even touched to the skin, the body produces antibodies. These antibodies in turn treat the protein like a harmful invader which triggers the release of histamines. Histamines are the main culprit in allergy:

  • itchy eyes
  • runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Skin irritation
  • general irritation of the upper respiratory passages.
  • Unlike pollen which is seasonal, , dust mites and their dander are always around. Because the tendency toward allergy is often hereditary, the best thing to do is protect yourself prior to exposure.

    How does the doctor make the diagnosis?

    Often, your doctor can take a detailed history of your symptoms and deduce that dust mite is the culprit. For example, if your allergy symptoms become more severe in the morning or at night, chances are, it is a dust mite allergy. There are, however, allergy skin tests and various and blood tests that can be used to determine specific allergies.

    The Doctors Advice

    It is best to do everything possible to avoid hypersensitivity to house dust mites. People who have perennial rhinitis, inflamed mucous membrane of the nose, or are allergic to house dust mites should try to adapt their homes:

  • Have as little furniture as possible in which mites can live.
  • Cover your bedding in dust mite proof encasings
  • Wash bedding once a week in hot water
  • Vacuum and dust regularly
  • Avoid dust traps like teddy bears, cushions, dried flowers, bric-a-brac and toys.
  • If you have a teddy bear that your child can't live without, simply throw it in the freezer every week overnight – this will kill the mites
  • Avoid dusty places
  • When you are likely to be exposed to substances that give you a reaction, such as when you are house cleaning, wear a mask.
  • What to do?

    If you are allergic to house dust mites, it is important that you don't expose yourself to the dust mite allergen because it increases your chances of developing asthma.