Annoying dust allergy

21. August 2014

Dust allergy causes sneezing, a constantly running nose and restless sleep – but all you have to do to make yourself feel better is make some little changes in the environment around you. Namely, dust allergy is caused by house dust mites not visible to the naked eye. These spider-like creatures feed on human skin scales, which makes bed linen and mattresses the perfect living environment for them. Dust mites can hide themselves in lampshades in living rooms, in bathroom mats, in soft toys and in furniture.

“Dust mites are certainly not a sign of bad hygiene, as they are found in the cleanest of homes,” explains Krista Ress, an allergist and immunologist from East-Tallinn Central Hospital. “At the same time, very dusty environments can be completely free of mites, as the climate is not suitable for them.”

What causes the allergy?

The allergy is caused by mite droppings. Dried and decomposed droppings get mixed with dust and cause a severe allergy in sensitive people. Dust mites do not live long, but the quantity of droppings they can leave behind in a couple of months is ca 200 times heavier than the weight of the mite itself.

Diagnosing dust mite allergy does not differ from diagnosing other allergies. Knowing where and when the symptoms occurred and what you came into contact with at the time is helpful. Skin-prick testing with dust mite allergens or determining dust mite antibodies in blood serum can also be used.

The best treatment is to reduce contact with mites, but this can prove difficult. A doctor can prescribe allergy drugs that can be taken for a longer period. The most common of these are orally administered allergy drugs or antihistamines. There are also drugs that are used in the nose, eyes or lower respiratory tract. “Treatment in the case of dust mite allergy must be regular and continue after the initial discomfort passes,” says Dr Ress.

Get rid of dust mites!

If you are suffering from dust allergy, read the tips below that will help you reduce the number of dust mites and thereby alleviate your allergic symptoms.

1. Keep the temperature in your home at 20-22 degrees and humidity below 50%.

2. Do not dry your washing indoors to avoid excessive humidity.

3. Get rid of carpets, throws and soft toys that collect dust.

4. Air rooms at least once a day.

5. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a central vacuum cleaner to clean your home. Allergy sufferers should leave or wear protective masks while the place is being cleaned. After vacuuming, wash the floors and other surfaces with a damp cloth.

6. Change bed linen once a week, and for best results wash it at 60 degrees.

7. Replace your old mattress with a new one (at least once every 8-10 years) and use mite-proof mattress covers.

8. Leave your bed unmade when you get up in the morning to let the duvet and bed dry from any moisture that accumulated from your body during the night.

9. Do not keep your bed linen in a closed space during the day, as the moisture will create a microclimate suitable for dust mites.

10. From time to time, place soft toys and pillows in the freezer overnight and then beat them. This helps destroy any dust mites living in them.

 

Source: Tervis Pluss

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