Written by Tori Matthews, Allergy Tech Specialist
People with dust allergies are familiar with sneezing—but sneezing isn’t the only uncomfortable symptom. Dust allergies also give many people a stuffy/runny nose, or cause their eyes to itch or become red and watery.
A dust mite allergy can cause serious health issues. When you’re allergic to a substance, your body sees the substance as an invader and responds to protect itself, causing the immune system to kick into overdrive, putting the body into “high alert”. A reaction like this can make it difficult to sleep at night. When you don’t get enough sleep at night this can pose serious health risks.
Here at the ENT Institute we take a comprehensive approach to your health care needs.
Overview House Dust
Home is supposed to be a comforting oasis, but for people with dust allergies, the home can trigger uncomfortable symptoms. Oddly enough, allergy symptoms often worsen during or immediately after vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting. The process of cleaning can stir up dust particles, making them easier to inhale.
People with dust mite allergies often suffer the most inside their homes or in other people’s homes. Dust mites are tiny organisms that can barely be seen by the naked eye. They feed off house dust and the moisture in the air. They are one of the most common indoor allergens, and symptoms can be present year-round. In addition to allergic rhinitis, dust mite allergy can also trigger asthma and cause eczema to flare. At the ENT Institute we are here to provide expert care for your dust allergies.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are tiny creatures that frequently make their home in places like furniture, carpets, and bedding. They are too small to be seen without a microscope or magnifying glass. They have eight legs and are not true insects, but relatives of spiders.
Dust mites feed on the flakes of skin shed by humans (and animals) every day. They prefer environments with 70 to 80% humidity, and temperatures of 68 to 77°F.
"Dust mites are also a common cause for asthma in children."
Dust mites – sometimes called bed mites – are the most common cause of house dust alleriges. They live and multiply easily in warm, humid places and prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity of 75 to 80 percent. Dust mites die when the humidity falls below 50 percent and are not usually found in dry climates.
Dust mite particles are often found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting, and upholstered furniture. They float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet, or disturbs bedding; but settle once the disturbance is over.
Dust mites are also a common cause of asthma in children.
A house does not need to be visibly dirty to trigger a dust mite allergy reaction. The particles are too tiny to be seen and often cannot be removed using normal cleaning procedures. In fact, a vigorous cleaning can make an allergic person’s symptoms worse.
Cockroaches live in all types of buildings and neighborhoods. Some people develop allergy symptoms when they are around cockroaches. Tiny particles from the cockroach are a common component of household dust and may be the true cause of a dust allergy.
Mold is a fungus that makes spores that float in the air. When people with a mold allergy inhale the spores, they get allergy symptoms. There are many different kinds of mold—some kinds you can see, others you can’t.
Molds live everywhere—on logs and on fallen leaves, and in moist places like bathrooms and kitchens. Tiny mold particles and spores are a common component of household dust and could be the true cause of a dust allergy.
Pollen comes from trees, grasses, flowers and weeds. People can be allergic to different types of pollen, for instance, some people are allergic to pollen from only beech trees; others are allergic to pollen from only certain kinds of grasses. Pollen is a common component of household dust and may be the true cause of a dust allergy.
Animal hair, fur, and feathers
Pets can cause problems for allergic patients in several ways. Their dander (skin flakes), saliva and urine can cause an allergic reaction, especially when combined with household dust. In households with birds, feathers and bird droppings can also become embedded in household dust and cause problems for people who are allergic to them.
Some may benefit from the use of HEPA filtration in their homes to reduce the amount of dust that can collect in your heating and air ducts. Attempting to reduce humidity within the home can be a difficult task, but if possible keeping humidity below 50% helps.
Removing carpet and replacing it with hardwoods, or tile can keep colonization to a minimum as well.
Treatment: Dust is considered a Perennial Allergen, this means it persists year-round. And if you are allergic to it, there is no way to avoid it completely. No matter how clean your home, office, the environment is, your body will react to the invader.
The only true treatment option that actually changes the disease process is allergy immunotherapy, a process of desensitizing your body to what it is allergic to, thereby creating immunity to your allergies. This does not happen overnight, but it is the best treatment option.
Here at the ENT Institute we are committed to your care and in developing a treatment plan that works for you. Our expertise as specials in Ear, Nose and Throat issues lends us a special understanding of what steps need to be taken to achieve your health care goals.
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