Dust Mite Allergy: By David Robles, MD, PhD

Dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from house dust and are a common trigger of asthma in children. Dust mites live and multiply in warm, humid places. 

Dust mites are often found in carpeting, upholstered furniture, curtains, pillows, mattresses and bedding. Dust mite particles float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding.



What Are the Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy?


Runny nose
Itchy, red or watery eyes
Stuffy nose or itchy nose, mouth or throat

How Does a Doctor Diagnose Dust Mite Allergy?
Skin Prick Test (SPT)

A small drop of the allergen is placed on your skin. Then the nurse or doctor will lightly prick or scratch the spot with a needle through the drop. If you are allergic to the substance, you will develop redness, swelling and itching at the test site within 20 minutes.

IgE Blood Test

Blood tests can measure the amount of antibodies your blood produces to attack the allergens. This test is called Specific IgE (sIgE) Blood Testing.

How do you Reduce Dust Mite Exposure?

Dust mite particles are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye and often cannot be removed using normal cleaning procedures. Therefore a house does not need to be visibly dirty to trigger a dust mite allergy reaction. In fact, sometimes a vigorous cleaning can make an allergic person’s symptoms worse. 

Dust mites cannot be totally eliminated. However, following the suggestions below can reduce the number of mites. 

·  Encase your mattress and pillows in allergen impermeable covers (available from online or at some department stores).

·  Wash all bedding and blankets once a week in hot water (at least 130 - 140°F) to kill dust mites.

·  Use synthetic material bedding (not feathered) and use only washable stuffed animals.

·  If possible, replace carpets in bedrooms with bare floors (linoleum, tile or wood). Avoid upholstered furniture.

·  Always use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Dry cloths will stir up mite allergens.
·  Use a vacuum cleaner with either a HEPA filter to trap allergens.

·  Wear a mask while vacuuming and stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust to settle after vacuuming.

For further information read more at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation website. 

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