The Indoor Dust Mite Allergy
We touched on dust mite allergy above, but lets look at the arachnid a little closer. Dust mites are not bed bugs these two arachnids often get confused however they cant be more different.
If you see tiny bugs in your bed it cant be dust mites .
Bed bugs however, can be seen and they leave welts on our skin because they suck our blood at night. Bed bugs are a serious issue and difficult to get rid of .
Dust mites arent a problem unless were allergic to them. They dont bite and are have a natural presence inside our homes.
They survive on dust, made up primarily of our skin flakes, and pet dander. They need hiding places that have warmth and moisture so this makes beds, pillows, and carpets perfect places.
Because theyre found our beds, allergic individuals usually lack quality sleep, have congested noses, and irritated eyes. Some people will even experience dust mite rash .
Management of dust mites includes regular cleaning, reducing humidity (dust mites thrive on humidity, getting rid of carpets, using high quality HVAC filters, HEPA air purifiers, and especially pillow and mattress covers that block dust mites from entering or exiting.
Its disconcerting to think about but they do serve a valuable purpose. They recycle our waste and our pets wastes .
Dust mites and pet dander are closely tied to each other because pet dander feeds dust mites. Lets take a closer look at pet dander below.
The Top 8 Symptoms Of Dust Allergies
Do you think that you may be experiencing symptoms of dust allergies?
Or could it be something else?
Unfortunately, some of the signs of a dust allergy, like sneezing, coughing and a runny nose, are similar to sicknesses such as the common cold.
What may seem to be dust allergy symptoms may actually be a cold and vice versus.
But, how do you know for sure?
Dust allergies can range from mild to severe.
In a mild case, you may experience an occasional outbreak of the symptoms below, while in a severe condition you might notice chronic, ongoing problems.
In this article, well share with you eight of the most common signs that are associated with allergies related to dust and dust mites.
Hopefully, this information will clue you in to whats really going on with your health.
Note: If symptoms such as wheezing or nasal congestion are severe, you should call your doctor. If shortness of breath or wheezing quickly gets worse, seek emergency care. The information provided in this article should not substitute for professional care.
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What Is Cat Dander
Before we get into how to eliminate cat dander, it is important to know that cat dander is the normal dying off and shedding of old skin cells, and it is completely normal in cats. You cant see cat dander because it is microscopic and cannot be detected by the naked eye.
Cat dander is so small that it floats in the air and hides in upholstered furniture, bedding, and carpet. Cat dander is responsible for the allergies that people have to cats when you have sneezing or other allergic reaction due to cat allergies, you arent reacting to the cats fur, you are reacting to the Fel d1 allergens that are present in cat dander.
Cat dander is not the same thing as dandruff, which appears as white flakes of skin in your cats coat.
Cat dander and cat dandruff are not the same. Cat dandruff is little flakes of dry, dead skin cells. You can notice these on your cat, on your clothes after petting your cat, or on furniture or cat bedding.
Dandruff accumulates on cats when they have overly dry skin, when they dont groom their fur adequately, or when they have a skin disease, skin infection, or internal disorder that results in abnormal shedding of dead skin cells. If you notice that your furry friend is producing dandruff, then it is time to enlist the help of your friendly, local neighborhood veterinarian to determine the cause, and resolve the issue.
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How Do You Treat Dust Allergies
For people who are experiencing mild reactions to dust, treatment could be as simple as cleaning more often, vacuuming with a HEPA filter, removing carpeted area in the home and regularly changing your HVAC filters.For more extreme cases of dust allergies, a person might need to see an allergist, where they can conduct test to diagnose the triggers of the allergy.
What Are Dust Mites
The house dust mite gets its name from its habitat household dust. The main component of dust is shed skin flakes, which is the mites preferred food source.
Areas around the home that are heavily used, such as beds and upholstered furniture, will have much higher mite populations than the rest of the house.
The most common type of dust mite found in Australian homes is Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, which tends to prefer coastal rather than inland areas. This mite has been associated with dermatological and respiratory allergies in humans, such as eczema and asthma. However, there is no single, definitive sign that house dust mites trigger a persons allergy symptoms. Asthma, for example, can be triggered by a range of other indoor allergens such as fungi or animal dander .
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Where Do Dust Mites Come From
Dust mites eat particles of dead skin and dander, which is why they thrive in places where animals and people are present. Although these pests can be a nuisance, they do not live on people, spread diseases, or bite. Dust mites are only harmful when people who are allergic to them are present. How so? The enzymes found in dust mites feces trigger allergy symptoms in people. A pest that averages about 20 droppings per day is more than harmful for a person with a dust mites allergy.
A person exposed to dust mites can lead to various health problems. This is particularly true in children who can become asthma sufferers due to exposure to dust mites. Many allergy and asthma physicians acknowledge that dust mites may lead to many allergy symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery/itchy eyes, and sneezing.
How Dog Dander Affects You
Normally, the role of our immune system is to fight foreign substances such as viruses and bacteria and get rid of them.
The above response is usually initiated to protect us against the otherwise deadly diseases and infections that would stem from the bacteria.
For individuals with allergies, however, they usually have over-sensitive immune systems, meaning they overreact, even to relatively harmless substances like dog dander, pollen, saliva, and urine.
Their immune systems often react to pet dander in the same manner as harmful bacteria and viruses.
The signs and symptoms of pet dander such as sneezing, watery eyes, and coughing are the side effects of the body`s attempt to destroy or flush out the allergen.
So, what are some dog dander allergy symptoms?
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Utilize Allergy Covers On The Bed
Most people think of mattress covers only for dust mites, but did you know pet dander often becomes buried in our mattresses and pillows. Dogs and cats love relaxing on our beds some of us even sleep with our pets.
My favorite allergy covers are made by Mission Allergy their reviews are amazing.
Using a mattress allergy cover can prevent pet dander from getting into our mattress where they can irritate us long after our pets are gone. A mattress cover for pet dander allergy will also keep the mattress looking new .
Diagnosing Dust Mite Allergies
You should see an allergist if you find your symptoms are worse at home, especially when cleaning or when you go to bed. An allergist is someone who diagnoses and treats allergies.
Your allergist will use diagnostic tests to determine whether you have a dust mite allergy. The most common type of test is a skin-prick test. During this test, the allergist will prick an area of your skin with a small extract of the allergen. Your allergist will then wait about 15 minutes to see if your skin has any negative reactions. If you do have a reaction, you will likely develop a large bump around the pricked area of skin. The area may also become red and itchy.
A blood test is sometimes used instead of a skin test. Note that a blood test can only screen for antibodies, so the results may not be as accurate.
The best treatment option is to limit your exposure to dust mites. If that doesnt work, there are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve the symptoms of a dust mite allergy:
- antihistamines, such as Allegra or Claritin, can help relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itching
- nasal corticosteroids, such as Flonase or Nasonex, can reduce inflammation while offering fewer side effects than their oral counterparts
- , such as Sudafed or Afrin, can shrink tissues in nasal passages, making it easier to breathe
- medications that combine an antihistamine and decongestant, such as Actifed or Claritin-D
Other treatments that may provide relief include:
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Are There Other Allergens I Could Be Sensitized To*
Many patients with dust mite allergy can experience symptoms when exposed to other allergens such as different species of dust mites, cockroaches, shellfish, and helminths . This is called cross-reactivity and occurs when your body’s immune system identifies the proteins, or components, in different substances as being structurally similar or biologically related, thus triggering a response.4
Knowing the proteins, or components, within each allergen that are triggering your symptoms can help guide your management plan. With that in mind, and based on your symptom history, your healthcare provider may suggest something called a specific IgE component test, which can help reveal your specific risk profile concerning dust mite. Results from this test can also help your healthcare provider decide if allergen immunotherapy may reduce your symptoms.4
Already have your specific IgE component test results?
Your component test results will include the name of the components . Your healthcare provider will likely review the results with you, but here you’ll find an at-a-glance breakdown you can use as a reference. Simply match the component names to the list below to see what they mean in terms of symptom management.4
rDer p 1, rDer p 2, rDer p 23
- Indicates that the symptoms may be caused by dust mites.
- Strongly associated with asthma.
- Dust mite immunotherapy may be an option, if positive to Der p 1 and/or 2.
rDer p 10
Signs Of A Pet Dander Allergy
Pet allergens cause telltale symptoms. The immune system reacts to the foreign substances in pet urine, saliva or dander. Despite common belief, no pets are truly hypoallergenic even hairless pets produce allergy-inducing proteins. If you experience some of the following symptoms, you may have pet allergies:
- Inflamed, itchy eyes.
- Red skin rashes or hives.
- Asthma episodes.
These symptoms may appear right away or after several days, depending on the severity and your sensitivity. You need not come in direct contact with an animal to experience an allergic reaction pet allergens can sit on clothing, furniture or carpet fibers. They can even hang suspended in the air. In mild cases, allergic reactions may be hardly noticeable. In severe cases, allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
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What Is Considered Dust And Dander
Dust is a combination of irritants, including dust mites, dust mite fecal matter, cockroach body parts, cockroach droppings, fibers, hair, shed skin cells, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, and pet dander. In metropolitan areas, dust in the home may also contain smoke and soot particles from the atmosphere.
Causes Of High Dust And Dander In Homes
Studies have found that a six-room home in the U.S. collects an average of 40 pounds of dust each year. What could be the reason for this high level of allergens in the home? A combination of poor ventilation and improper cleaning can contribute to a collection of dust and dander in your indoor environment. Poor ventilation results in less air flow, which when the air is trapped and is not filtered out the allergens also get trapped within the air and create high levels of these substances in your home.
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Dust Allergy Causes And Risk Factors
Youâre more likely to have a dust allergy if you:
- Have a family history of dust or other allergies
- Are exposed to lots of dust and dust mites
- Are a child or young adult
Is There A Dust Mite Allergy Cure
There is no cure for a dust mite allergy. Its best to focus on symptom management. Dust mites naturally occur in our homes, and its almost impossible to eliminate them. However, you can reduce their numbers in your home and the need for treatment.
For every room in the home, consider these steps to manage dust mite allergens:
- Use air conditioning or dehumidifiers to reduce the humidity to between 30 and 50 percent. Low humidity inhibits the reproduction and survival of the mites.
- Use high-efficiency particulate air filters in your ductwork and a vacuum with a HEPA bag or filter will effectively keep the dust down and trap allergens.
- Dust with a damp cloth or mop to keep dust down. Less dust flying through the air irritates airways less.
- Wash curtains in hot water frequently and steam clean upholstery if possible.
- Minimize dust by replacing carpets with wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floors.
- Reduce clutter it means fewer places for dust to settle and makes cleaning easier.
- Wash stuffed toys and dolls in hot water. Keep them out of the bedroom if possible. Dust mites will die in the dryer or freezer, but only a hot wash will remove the particles that inflame airways.
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Whats The Best Dust Allergy Treatment
Theres no specific dust allergy cure as such but you can definitely find treatment to manage the dust allergy symptoms.
Some options for dust allergy treatment or management are:
Opting for doctor-prescribed antihistamines
Check with the doctor on how to open up the nasal passages
In-addition to the medications mentioned above there are also few home remedies for dust allergy, they can provide some relief:
Herbal tea with honey can help in soothing an itchy throat.
Is dust mite allergy prevention possible?
Dust particles and mites can be hard to keep at bay, but you can most definitely minimize their effects by taking proper measures.
Use airtight covers for pillows, mattresses and cushions to avoid any contact with the allergens
Every week wash all your bedding and covers in hot water with up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit . High temperature usually kills dust mites
Make sure your house is clean and dry
Mop the concrete floors with disinfectant and vacuum your house regularly
While dusting or vacuuming, wear a mask to avoid inhaling dust particles
Keeping the above points in mind, lets take a look at the most common queries every individual has about dust mite allergy:
How Do I Manage My Allergy
If you are allergic to dust mites, your healthcare provider may recommend a plan that includes the following.3,4,10-13
Dramatically decreasing exposure to dust mite allergens can help both related asthma and rhinitis symptoms.4
- Encase mattresses, box springs, and pillows in special allergen-proof fabric covers or airtight, zippered plastic covers.
- Avoid using down pillows or comforters.
- Wash bedding weekly in temps of 54 C or more and dry them in a hot dryer.
- Remove dust-mite reservoirs such as stuffed animals from beds.
- Keep humidity levels to less than 50 percent.
- Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter bag.
- Remove upholstered furniture, drapery, carpeting, and rugs, and opt for smooth flooring such as hardwood or tile.
- Use damp mops and rags to remove dust, as dry versions may stir up mite allergens.
Your healthcare provider may direct you to employ one of the following therapies to improve your allergy symptoms:
- Antihistamines are commonly used to reduce symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
- Nasal corticosteroids are used to reduce swelling in the nose and block allergic reactions.
- Allergen immunotherapy, as directed by your healthcare provider, may help develop tolerance to dust mite exposure.
If you’re with someone who’s having an allergic reaction and shows signs of shock, act fast. Look for pale, cool, and clammy skin a weak, rapid pulse trouble breathing confusion and loss of consciousness. Do the following immediately:
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What Is The Most Common Outdoor Allergy
The most common sources of outdoor allergens are pollens, and include: Tree pollens, which are most common in the spring. Grass pollens, which are most common in the summer. Weed pollens, which are most common in the summer and fall. Ragweed pollen in particular is the most common cause of fall allergy symptoms.
Causes Of Dust Mite Allergies
An allergy is the immune systems response to an unknown substance thats not usually harmful to your body. These substances are called allergens. They may include certain foods, pollens, and dust mites. People who are allergic to dust mites have bad reactions to the remnants of the bugs. These remnants include tiny mounds of feces and decaying bodies.
You might have a relatively clean household, but it doesnt take much to create an environment fit for dust mites. In fact, the average bedroom is often the ideal place for them. Bedding, carpeting, and furniture cushions all trap and hold moisture, allowing these tiny bugs to flourish. You could experience increased allergy symptoms over time as you continue to breathe in the dust mites waste particles.
Its important to note that dust can be a sneeze-inducing annoyance for anyone, but only certain people have the immune responses that actually constitute a dust mite allergy.
Dust mite allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. They may include the following:
- runny or itchy nose
- sinus pressure
- itchy, watery, or red eyes
- scratchy throat