Am I allergic to dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that thrive in pillows, mattresses, upholstery and carpeting. They thrive on human skin cells and usually harmless unless the individual has dust mite allergy.

Indications of dust mite allergy

An individual has dust mite allergy if the following symptoms are present if in contact with dust mites:

  • Coughing or sneezing
    Nasal allergy
    An individual is at higher risk for dust mite allergy if there is a family history of allergies.
  • Stuffed or runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Hives
  • Itchy eyes, nose, mouth, throat or skin
  • Drainage of mucus down the rear part of the nose into the throat
  • Asthma

When a doctor is consulted, the symptoms can be determined if triggered by a dust mite allergy or other similar conditions. A diagnosis of the allergy includes a thorough assessment, medical history and the symptoms.

Testing such as a skin test is done to monitor for a reaction. A blood test might be done to analyze the number of antibodies to the dust mite allergen.

Who are at risk?

An individual is at higher risk for dust mite allergy if there is a family history of allergies. The risk is also increased if exposed to large amounts of dust mites especially during childhood. Remember that dust mite allergies typically develop among children and young adults.

Management

In some cases, preventive measures might not be enough to manage the symptoms. Medications are needed to control the symptoms such as:

  • Decongestants to alleviate nasal congestion
  • Antihistamines to reduce the episodes of sneezing, itchiness, nasal congestion and irritated eyes
  • Nasal saline sprays work by clearing out any allergens in the nasal passages
  • Corticosteroids work by reducing the congestion and itchiness
  • Montelukast is used to prevent asthma and other symptoms

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