Dust Mite Allergy

Dust Mite Allergy

House Dust Mite is the most important perennial allergen

Dust Mite Allergy is caused by House Dust Mite (HDM), which is a very small creature that lives in each and every home. It is the most important indoor allergen which is responsible for aggravation allergy and asthma symptoms throughout the year.

Allergic symptoms due to HDM is called HDM allergy. Dust mite allergy can last through out the year.

Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mite allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy, watery and red eyes
  • Itchy nose and itchy throat
  • Skin itching
  • Postnasal drip
  • Coughing

In addition to this dust mite allergy can trigger asthma symptoms and can lead to:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Tightness in the chest or chest pain
  • Wheezing sound
  • Trouble sleeping (due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing)

House dust mite allergy is a cause significant Sleep disturbances. This can lead to:

  • Sleep disorders
  • Decreased concentration and focus
  • Fatigue
  • Activity limitation
  • Decreased decision-making capacity
  • Impaired hand-eye coordination
  • Problems remembering things
  • Irritability
  • Missed days of work or school
  • More motor vehicle accidents
  • More school or work injuries

Diagnose Dust Mite Allergy

The diagnosis of dust mite allergy depend upon the clinical features, physical examination and laboratory findings. One of the clinical indicator of dust mite allergy is the history of persistence of allergic symptoms throughout the year. Your allergist may order skin prick test or blood test.

Skin Prick Test (SPT) / Allergic Skin Testing

Is the most important test. It is very sensitive and cost-effective test and it is easy to perform.

In skin prick testing, a small drop of the possible standardized antigen (allergen) is placed on your skin. Then the nurse or doctor will lightly prick the spot with a needle / sterile lancets through the drop. If you are allergic to the substance/allergen, you will develop redness, swelling, and itching at the test site of pricking within 15-20 minutes. There will be wheal and flare at the site of pricking. Usually, the larger the wheal, the more likely you are to be allergic to the allergen.

A positive SPT to a particular allergen does not necessarily mean you have an allergy to the particular allergen. An SPT only indicates that the person has sensitization to that allergen. Skin test result interpretation must be done with respect to clinical complain of the patient. Health care providers must compare the skin test results with the time and place of your symptoms to see if they match or not.

Specific IgE Blood Test

Blood testing for allergen-specific IgE is usually performed when the skin prick test is contraindicated. This test is also suitable for extreme of age i.e., an infant and elderly patients where skin prick test is not appropriate.

In this test, blood is drawn from the patient and then sends to the laboratory for testing. The laboratory will add the particular allergen extracts to that blood. If the specific antibody is present in the blood then the antigen added to the blood sample will attach with the specific antibody. This test is called Specific IgE (sIgE) Blood Testing.  As with skin testing, a positive specific IgE testing does not necessarily mean that an allergen caused your symptoms.

Treatments of Dust Mite Allergy- 

  1. Antihistamines:

    Most common medicine used in mild to moderate allergic reaction.

Antihistamines include:

  • Fexofenadine
  • Levocetirizine
  • Cetirizine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Desloratadine
  • Loratadine
  1. Decongestants:

Decongestant is helpful to relieve a stuffy nose and sinus pressure. But decongestant can only be used for shorter time usually for three days. Longer time can cause a rebound effect, means once you stop the medicines your symptoms will actually get worse.

Decongestants include:

  • Oxymetazoline
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Phenylephrine
  • Cetirizine with pseudoephedrine

One should be kept in mind that history of abnormal heart rhythm, heart disease, history of stroke, anxiety, a sleep disorder, high blood pressure, or bladder issues is important before commencing decongestant medication.

  1. Eye drops and nasal sprays:

Eye drops and nasal sprays can help relieve itchiness and other allergy-related symptoms for a short time. However, depending on the product, you may need to avoid long-term use.

Like decongestants, overusing certain eye drops and nose drops can also cause a rebound effect.

  1. Corticosteroids: 

    Corticosteroids can help with inflammation and immune responses. These do not cause a rebound effect. Steroid nasal sprays are commonly recommended as a long-term, useful way to manage allergy symptoms. Nasal steroid medications are the most effective medications.

  2. Immunotherapy: 

    Your doctor may recommend immunotherapy, or allergy shots if you have severe allergies. You can use this treatment plan in conjunction with medications to control your symptoms. These shots decrease your immune response to particular allergens over time. They do require a long-term commitment to a treatment plan.

Tips to manage dust mite allergy

  • Clean your home once a week
  • Wash your garments with warm water and dry under sunlight
  • Wear face mask
  • Remove carpeting and install hardwood or linoleum flooring
  • Encase pillows, mattresses in dustproof covers
  • Use air purifier /air conditioner
  • Keep the relative humidity in your home less than 50%

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