Dust is found both in the air you breathe and on the surfaces in your home, so when you're allergic to dust mites, the tiny bugs that live in your dust, daily life can be difficult. Here are four things you need to know about dust mite allergies.
What are the symptoms of dust mite allergies?
Dust mite allergies cause respiratory symptoms. These symptoms can be mild and cold-like, so it can be hard to know if you have an allergy or just a cold. Symptoms can include things like sneezing, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and a cough. Some people also have pressure or pain in their face or blue skin underneath their eyes.
If you have asthma in addition to your allergy, your symptoms can be more serious. People with both conditions may have difficulty breathing, chest pain, and severe asthma attacks.
How common are dust mite allergies?
Dust mite allergies are fairly common. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about twenty million Americans suffer from dust mite allergies. Dust mites may be the most common year-round allergen.
How do allergists test for dust mite allergies?
If you think you're allergic to dust mites, your allergist will need to do a skin prick test to diagnose your allergy. The allergist will prick your skin and then smear dust mite allergens on the wound. If an itchy, red bump forms on that site, you'll know that you're allergic to dust mites.
Can dust mite allergies be cured?
Dust mite allergies can be managed with antihistamines, but if you don't want to take them or can't take them for a medical reason, you may be able to undergo a treatment called immunotherapy. The goal of immunotherapy is to reduce your allergy symptoms by building up your tolerance to the allergens.
Immunotherapy involves a lot of needles and a lot of visits to your allergist, so it's not for everyone. You'll need to get an injection of dust mite allergens every week for the first three to six months, and then after that, you'll get them every month for another three to five years. Over time, you may notice fewer symptoms or no symptoms at all.
Dust mite allergies are annoying and potentially dangerous, so if you think you're allergic to dust mites, you should see an allergist right away. Your allergy can be managed with antihistamines or immunotherapy. Contact a company like Asthma and Allergy Clinic for more information.