Dust Mite AllergyNo matter how hard you work to clean your house using even the most expensive cleaners and cleaning equipment, you are still exposed to allergens. According to the World Health Organization, dust mite allergy is one of the most common forms of allergies that people experience. Though most people dismiss this condition as an everyday health dilemma, it is important to ensure that you and your family are protected from dust mite allergy.
Dust Mite Allergy InformationDust mite allergy is a health problem that continues to plague a lot of households. Though there are many people who overlook this condition as a normal health dilemma such as common colds and coughs, dust mite allergy can lead to serious complications. Those who are overly exposed to allergens produced by the dust mites can develop asthma and other respiratory-related ailments.
You may not know it, but there can be millions of dust mites residing in your home. These eight legged fiends may be invisible to the eye, but the inconvenience that they can cause to you and your family can be massive. To make your house a dust mite free place, read on and learn the ways on how you can do so.
Dust Mite Allergy CausesIn explaining the cause of this health problem, it will be clearer to introduce you to the organisms that are indirectly responsible for the allergy. Dust mites are organisms that feed on human skin. These eight legged member of the arachnid family dwell on your bed, couch, carpet, and sheets for these are the areas which supplies them with their food. The highest concentration of dust mite is found on the bed as this is where we spend almost one third of our day.
The dead skin cells that are accumulated in the various spots of our house help the dust mites in prolonging their existence. These dead skin cells, also called dander, can come from human and animal sources. Humans shed an average of 10 grams of skin per week while household pets can shed more.
Due to the plentiful supply of food, the population of dust mites in a household can reach to millions. The droppings of these dust mites are present everywhere in our house including the nooks and crannies. These are also found even in the air that we breathe.
A dust mite allergy is caused by the protein is released along with these droppings. Allergic reactions are triggered once the body inhales these protein substances. When the body detects the presence of these protein materials, the antibodies will release histamine. This chemical is responsible for the irritation of the respiratory pathways that ultimately leads to swelling, irritation, and asthma attacks.
Dust mite allergy can affect the person regardless of the season of the year or time of the day. Since the allergens are perpetually present in your household items, simple acts such as sitting on a chair or sweeping your floor can cause a dust mite allergy to someone.
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms and SignsThe most common symptoms of dust mite allergy are similar to the symptoms brought about by different allergens. Once a person's body reacts to the allergens inside his body, he may develop hay fever. Hay fever is often accompanied by excessive sneezing, congested or runny nose and colds. He is also likely to suffer from eczema. Eczema is a type of skin disease characterized by redness and crusting of the affected spot. Itching and irritation is also likely to occur.
Another common symptom of dust mite allergy is the conjunctivitis. This symptom is manifested as redness and burning of the eyes. Itching and watering is also a common occurrence. Though this symptom can be alleviated by the use of eye drops, the eyes' natural reaction to allergens, which is producing tears, can further enforce the effect of histamine.
Problems with breathing can also affect the person with allergy. Allergic asthma is caused by the congestion of the respiratory tract as the body's reaction to the allergens. The person may be afflicted with wheezing, coughing and a sense of tightness within the chest area. A person who is allergic to dust mite must find a way to decrease his exposure to the allergens for it will make his asthma worse.
The symptoms of dust mite allergy may also vary from a person to another. Some may not experience asthma while some did not suffer from hay fever. Regardless of the variation of the symptoms, it is worth noting that exposure to air pollutants and car fumes can make the symptoms worse.
To confirm if you are allergic to dust mites, you should see a doctor once you feel these symptoms. The doctor will then perform a blood and skin test to see if you are indeed allergic to dust mites.
Preventing Dust Mite AllergyThere are many ways that you can employ to reduce your exposure to the dust mites. Regular cleaning of your home will surely help as long as you are guided with the proper ways on how to clean it. Here are some useful tips that you can try:
- If possible, ditch your carpet and opt for linoleum or wooden floors. Dust mites accumulate in carpeted areas. If you want to reduce their population in your house, you should remove all the carpets that you have and switch to linoleum covers. If you have the budget, you can also choose to have a wooden floor.
However, if you cannot afford to lose your carpets, then make sure that they are cleaned properly. One of the most effective tips is to have them cleaned by the professionals at least twice a month. Every week, you should wash your carpets with hot water.
You can also opt to use a vacuum that is equipped with a HEPA filter bag. The HEPA bag is effective in accumulating all the dust while you clean your home.
- Reduce the humidity of your home. Dust mites thrive in places where the temperature is warm. Reducing the humidity inside your home can be a good way of perishing their existence in your home. You can do so by installing home dehumidifiers as well as air conditioning units. Just make sure that you clean these devices regularly.
- Protect and clean your linens regularly. Your bed, pillows, blankets and duvets are ideal breeding places for dust mites. Protect them by using covers that are made from dust proof materials. Make it a point to wash your linens especially the ones you use at your bedroom at least twice a week using hot water.
- Remove other things that can cause dust mite accumulation such as stuffed toys and throw pillows. Most of these materials are not cleaned regularly which makes them a good habitat for the dust mites.
How To Kill Dust MitesKilling the dust mites that resides in your house is a concrete way of preventing dust mite allergy. When there are no dust mites to release allergens in your home, your body will not have to react to these allergens. Luckily, the techniques that you can employ to eradicate the dust mites are simple and affordable. You do not have to invest in expensive cleaning equipment to make your home dust mite free. Along with these techniques, you can mix a little perseverance and hard work to make sure that you endeavor will be a success.
- Wash all your linens and sheets with hot water. Dust mites cannot survive in a heated environment. Make it a point that you wash all the sheets in your household especially those that are used in the bedrooms. It is better to use a clothesline in drying your sheets but if this is not possible, you can use the hottest drying settings of your home dryer.
Another method that you can use while washing your sheets involves freezing the fabric. You can fold your sheets into neat stacks and put them in your freezer for a while. The extreme cold can kill the dust mites. Afterwards, you can proceed with washing them using room temperature water.
- Decrease the humidity in your house. Dust mites thrives in areas where the humidity is high. Regulate the humidity in your home by using dehumidifiers. These devices should also be regularly cleaned to ensure their efficient functionality. If you have a space where you can air out your sheets and stuffed toys, you can place them under direct sunlight to kill the dust mites that are residing in them.
- Clean the children's stuffed toys regularly. Teddy bears, stuffed animals, dolls etc. They make look adorable but these items serve as ideal breeding grounds for dust mites. Besides them using direct sunlight, you can place these toys in airtight bags and leave them for at least 45 hours. This will kill the dust mite for their air supply will be cut out. After taking them out from the bags, beat the toys to make sure that there are no residues that can still cause allergies.
- Use specially made chemical sprays. Chemical sprays are also effective in killing dust mites. The safest spray to use is those that are made using benzyl benozoate. Studies have shown that this chemical poses no side effects and is one hundred percent efficient in killing the dust mites. In using a chemical spray of your choice, make sure that you follow the instructions strictly.
Dust Mite TreatmentOnce a person's body reacts to the allergens produced by the dust mites, he or she may experience certain symptoms like hay fever, coughing, asthma attacks, and watery eyes. To treat these symptoms and the allergic reaction itself, below are the recommend treatment options.
Medications for Allergic ReactionsThe most widely used medication used to relieve the effects of an allergic reaction is the antihistamine. When this drug is administered to the patient, it can heal symptoms like coughing, colds, and sneezing. Over the counter medicines that are classified as anti histamines can be readily acquired in your local drug store. Some of the popular tablets are Zyrtec and Claritin. Prescription antihistamine tablets include Allegra, Azelastine and Patanase. Some prescription antihistamine medications are administered as nasal sprays for a quick and lasting effect.
Decongestants, on the other hand, helps the patients by healing inflamed tissues in the respiratory passages. This makes it easier for the affected person to breathe. Though decongestants are commonly used to treat allergic reactions, individuals who have high blood pressure are not allowed to take this drug. This is so because decongestants can increase a person's blood pressure.
Leukotriene modifiers are used to negate the function of certain chemicals that the immune system releases to counter the allergens. Leukotriene modifiers take the form of tablets and syrups and most of them can be acquired through prescription only. Though this is fast and effective in curing the allergic reactions, this drug may impose some side effects such as migraine and nausea.
Therapeutic Treatments for Dust Mite AllergiesAside from taking medications to cure allergic reactions caused by dust mites, patients can choose to undergo a therapeutic treatment. This form of allergy treatment is more long lasting and effective when compared to taking medications. However, some of these treatment options can cause more than the tablets, syrups, and nasal sprays that most people use when they feel allergic to something.
Nasal lavage- The main objective of this therapy is to cleanse your nasal pathways using saltwater. A saline rinse is effective for eradicating nasal congestion as well as sneezing and a runny nose. Though a saline rinse is normally done in a clinic or a hospital, there are available over the counter saline rinses that you can buy in local drug stores. Nasal lavages that are sold in these pharmacies come with a complete saline rinse kit. To perform a saline rinse,you will need some squeeze bottles and the saline solution itself.
Tip: You can make your own saline rinse at home. Get 8 ounces or 237 ml of distilled water and 5ml or 1/8 teaspoon of rock salt. Put your solution in a sanitary bottle and mix until all the salt is completely dissolved. Store your saline rinse in a cool and dry place. Make sure that you do not expose it to direct heat nor put it in the refrigerator.
Another therapy option that you can try is the immunotherapy. In this therapy, the patient will be given allergy shots to condition the immune system on how to react to allergens. These shots will "teach" the body's immune system not to react too aggressively when it detects allergens in the body. At the start of the therapy, shots may contain miniscule doses of the allergens. As you progress, the shots will be increases until the desired reaction from the immune system has been achieved. The course of a immunotherapy may run from five to eight months depending on your own body cycle. Immunotherapy is considered by many doctors as the last resort when medications and other therapies are not successful in alleviating the allergic reactions.
Dust mite allergy should not take a toll on you and your entire household. Remember that as the homeowner, you have the final say when it comes to who can and cannot reside in your house. Apply the techniques in eradicating dust mites regularly and soon enough, you would not have to worry about these tiny insects at all.