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Dust allergy: forget about carpets

DUST MITE, CAN IT PROVIDE AN ALLERGY?

No matter how well you clean your home, dust will still collect in it. It may contain fungal spores, hair debris, pet dander or dust mites. 

The latter are close relatives of spiders and common ticks. But, unlike the latter, they are so small that they cannot be seen without the help of a microscope. Dust mites feed on dead skin residues. And water is obtained by absorbing moisture from the air. Therefore, they thrive especially well in warm and humid environments. Temperatures of 20-25 degrees Celsius and humidity of 70-80% are the most comfortable for them.

Among home furnishings, carpets, upholstered furniture, pillows, bedding and similar items are ideal habitats for house dust mites.

For most people, the neighborhood with such residents is imperceptible. But in sensitive people, dust mites can cause an allergic reaction if inhaled or in contact with them. It is the house dust mite allergy that is the most common cause of year-round allergic rhinitis in Ukraine. Cockroaches, in particular their saliva and body particles, as well as fungal spores, mycelium and pet dander are also common causative agents of such allergies.  

CAUSES OF AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO DUST

Today, at least 13 species of ticks are distinguished. But the direct cause of dust allergy is not considered to be house dust mites themselves, but their waste: feces and dead body remains.

At the same time, there is a high risk of developing a reaction while cleaning the house. A broom or vacuum cleaner lifts dust particles into the air. And inhaling them triggers the body’s immune response. 

Therefore, people who are sensitive to dust need to clean the room in a special respirator or at least in a protective mask.

The likelihood of developing an allergic reaction to a dust mite increases with a family history – if the allergy is diagnosed in one or more family members.

In addition, the risk of developing sensitivity to dust is higher in early childhood and adolescence, but not in adulthood.

SYMPTOMS OF DUST MITE ALLERGY

Dust mite allergies can manifest in both mild and severe forms. Some allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of a common cold. But if unpleasant manifestations persist for more than one week, most likely their cause is precisely an allergy.

The main symptoms are:

  • sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion
  • sinus pressure (can cause facial pain)
  • itching, watery eyes, and redness of the eyes
  • discomfort in the throat
  • cough
  • swollen, bluish skin under the eyes
  • sleep problems

Chronic exposure to the allergen can cause rhinosinusitis (chronic inflammation of the tissues in the nasal passages caused by dust mite allergy). As a result, the risk of sinusitis increases. Ticks can also increase the risk of asthma attacks The latter can provoke additional symptoms, such as:   

  • chest pain or tension
  • labored breathing
  • wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.

With a severe attack, breathing problems are also observed.

If wheezing and shortness of breath get worse, seek immediate medical attention.

In mild cases, antihistamines can help reduce allergies.

They help relieve or relieve nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching. Other medicines work by preventing the release of chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Corticosteroid sprays are effective for treating nasal inflammation.

METHODS FOR PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF DUST ALLERGIES

Severe dust allergies can be treated with allergen immunotherapy. This method consists in the introduction of subcutaneous injections of an allergen (in a small amount) in order to gradually increase the tolerance to allergy pathogens.  

For this purpose, oral immunotherapy can also be used – tablets containing an allergen, which must be absorbed under the tongue. At the same time, the first dose of the allergen is administered under supervision – in the allergist’s office – and all subsequent doses can be taken independently. In such a dosage and with a frequency that the doctor prescribes. The duration of this treatment is usually three years.

As a preventive measure, it is recommended to reduce the number of carpets and other soft flooring in the room (curtains and drapes). Especially in the bedroom. In addition, it is also best to keep pets away from the sleeping area.

And regularly clean the house by using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA- filters. If you have allergies, wear an N95 filter mask when vacuuming or sweeping the house. Damp mop often and wash all bedding regularly.     

To protect against ticks, you can use special furniture covers.

Inspect and service heating and air conditioning systems every six months.

Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home and keep it between 50 and 55%. For this, you can purchase a special dehumidifier.

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