If you suffer from year-round allergies, they may be caused by a creature so small that it can’t be seen without a microscope. These tiny critters hide in homes, can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and are one of the most common nemeses of allergy sufferers worldwide.
What are these misery-causing animals? Dust mites. A relative to ticks and spiders, dust mites eat dead skin cells and, therefore, thrive in dust shelters around your home, including upholstered furniture, carpets, drapes, and bedding.
Why Am I Allergic to Dust?
Allergies occur when your immune system mistakes a harmless substance, such as dust mites, as something dangerous. In an attempt to protect the body, it starts an immune response to rid you of what it sees as harmful.
This immune response may include:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Watery eyes
- Itchy, red skin
- Stuffy or runny nose
While it may appear that the dust in your home is causing your allergies, it’s what’s in the dust that you’re allergic to, not the dust itself. Household dust is composed of dirt, small food particles, insect waste, lint, animal dander, and other tiny particles.
Indoor dust also contains dead skin cells. Because these skin cells are the favorite meal of dust mites, they too are found in dust. As are their waste and the remains of dead dust mites, all of which can result in allergy symptoms.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that measure about one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter in size. If looked at under a microscope, dust mites appear to be tiny white bugs, but they are not bugs. They are considered arthropods, invertebrate creatures with exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and paired, jointed appendages.
Also known as bed mites, dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments and are well adapted to living inside human homes. Although dust mites are commonly found in dust, they are also found deep in furniture, bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals.
What Are the Symptoms?
A dust mite allergy can be mild or severe and may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms. You may experience a few of these reactions or many. Some of the most common dust mite allergy symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Red, itchy eyes
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Itchy skin
These symptoms may worsen when particles are stirred into the air, such as when you vacuum or change bedding, and they can linger long after you’re no longer around the allergen.
Dust Allergy Triggers
In some cases, it’s not just dust mites and their byproducts that cause you to have an allergic reaction to dust. Other allergy triggers found in dust include cockroaches, mold, pollen, and pet dander. To determine what is triggering your allergy symptoms get an at-home allergy test from Wyndly now!
Common Treatment Methods
When it comes to treatments for dust mite allergies, there are multiple approaches.
Antihistamines, nasal sprays, and decongestants can help you manage your allergy symptoms. If over-the-counter varieties don’t relieve your suffering, you can talk to your doctor about prescription-strength medication, but over-the-counter medications are only a short-term solution to your symptoms.
If you want to successfully manage your dust mite allergy, environmental control is necessary to your success. To reduce the amount and impact of dust and dust mites in your home, here are a few tips:
- Buy an impermeable bed cover
- Replace carpet and rugs with hard flooring
- Wash your sheets frequently in hot water
- Reduce forced air heating and cooling
- Eliminate dust shelters
- Opt for leather or wooden furniture
- Use HEPA filters
How to Manage Your Reaction
Sure, traditional allergy medications like antihistamines and corticosteroid sprays can mute dust mite allergy symptoms, but without efforts to reduce your exposure to indoor dust, chances are your allergies will still rage.
Beyond the environmental control and removal of dust shelters, there are other steps you can take to help manage your allergic reaction.
- Remove yourself, if possible, from vacuuming chores, as it can take up to two hours for the dust to settle after cleaning
- When dust can’t be avoided, wear an N95 mask to limit inhaling dust
- Clean bedrooms early in the day
- Wash linens in hot water
- Keep your home humidity below 55%
- Use a dehumidifier during humid weather
If you’ve taken steps to reduce your exposure to dust mites and you still suffer from allergy symptoms that don’t respond to over-the-counter medications, immunotherapy may be a great long-term solution for you.
Immunotherapy for Dust Allergies
Immunotherapy is the only clinically-proven treatment to bring long-lasting relief to allergy sufferers. This treatment repeatedly exposes the body to small amounts of an allergen. Over time, the immune system learns to tolerate the allergen and no longer responds with allergy symptoms. Sublingual immunotherapy is a form of immunotherapy that can be taken safely from the convenience of home and provide long-term allergy relief for those with dust and dust mite allergies.
Does Sublingual Immunotherapy Work?
Sublingual immunotherapy does work. It’s research-backed and proven by science. When it comes to dust mites, sublingual immunotherapy works so well that the FDA approved a prescription pill called Odactra just for those with dust mites.
While this pill is highly effective, it can only aid with dust mite symptoms. Unlike allergy drops, which can treat most of your environmental allergies at the same time, Odactra only works to reduce dust mite allergies.
Because immunotherapy reduces your immune system’s sensitivity to allergens, if you follow the treatment course as planned, it can lead to long-lasting allergy relief without the need for daily medications.
Get Lifelong Relief With Wyndly
Are you ready for long-lasting relief from dust mite allergies? At Wyndly, we want to ensure you get the most effective allergy treatment without having to jump through hoops. That’s why when you book your consult, we’ll send you a free at-home allergy test.
Schedule your initial consultation with one of our allergy doctors today to get your personalized treatment plan and be one step closer to a life free from allergies!