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What is dust mite allergy and how is it treated?

A broad range of allergic symptoms

An allergic reaction is the immune system’s exaggerated response to a specific foreign body or compound, called an allergen. The body releases histamines, causing inflammation and the overproduction of mucus.

  • Allergic rhinitis (nasal congestion)
  • Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • Asthma, chest pressure and wheezing
  • Atopic dermatitis (flaky, inflamed skin rash)

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Dust mites allergens become airborne during household chores like bed-making and dusting and are easily breathed in.

Decreased quality of life

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These direct symptoms can lead to debilitating secondary problems. For example, sleep disorders indirectly caused by dust mite allergy have particularly negative social, academic and professional impacts on adults and children, including:

  • Concentration and attention disorders
  • Poor school or occupational performance
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Mood disorders
  • Social disruptions

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Early exposure to dust mite allergens in children increases the risk of asthma.

Changing lifestyles lead to more dust mites

Allergy to dust mites is on the rise, as lifestyle changes such as central heating, double-glazed windows, frequent bathing and thermal insulation contribute to keeping our homes warm and humid – ideal environments for mites to thrive. Find out more about dust mite characteristics and behaviour.

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Very common worldwide

The World Health Organisation considers allergy the 4th-most important human disease globally. In the last 40 years, the occurrence of allergy has increased tenfold. Allergies are often, but not always, hereditary. As much as 15-25% of the population is affected by dust mite allergy, and dogs and cats are commonly allergic as well.

Dust mite allergy attacks occur year round, particularly in the morning after allergy sufferers have spent a full night with their heads on their pillows in close proximity to dust mite faeces and shed body parts. However, attacks peak in the fall and winter, when homes are heated and less ventilated.

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After 2 years, 10% of an average pillow’s weight consists of dust mite bodies (alive and dead) and droppings.

Treating dust mite allergy

Even in the face of these challenges, there are key strategies that you can take to maintain a hygienic home and keep your family as healthy, happy and comfortable as possible.

Step 1 Eliminate the source of allergens

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As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. Reducing the quantity of dust mites and their allergens is the first step in limiting and even eliminating clinical allergy symptoms.

ExAller® is a 100%-safe, natural, clinically proven product that eliminates 99% of dust mites from mattresses, furniture and carpets in 3 simple steps. Learn more about our solution.

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“Eliminating the allergen is the first essential step to treating the allergy. Dr X. Van der Brempt, allergist

Step 2 Seek medical help

Dust mite allergy isn’t completely curable, but symptoms are treatable through a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications like antihistamines, topical steroids and nasal decongestants. Although these medications are temporarily helpful in relieving symptoms, symptoms generally return after treatment stops.

For severe or unrelenting allergies, doctors may recommend a course of immunotherapy injections or sublingual (taken under the tongue) drops, which gradually desensitise a person to specific allergens. Immunotherapy can be expensive and requires a strict appointment schedule.

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Step 3 Follow these tips to limit the presence of mites

There are also practices and behaviours that you can adopt to reduce the number of mites living in your home:

  • Keep air humidity in bedrooms below 50-60%, as measured by a hygrometer
  • Ventilate bedrooms every day for at least 10 minutes, especially when it is cold and dry outside
  • Replace mattresses more than 10 years old
  • Remove textiles like carpets, stuffed animals, upholstery and carpet from bedrooms
  • Store clothing in closed cupboards and seal unused clothes in plastic containers

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Get tested

If you, your child or your family member is experiencing the symptoms of dust mite allergy, your family doctor can determine sensitivity by performing a skin or blood test. Do the dust mite allergy evaluation for more insights.

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Download the Dust mites Allergy ebook!

This ebook gives you essential information on dust mite allergy and existing solutions for a better day-to-day management of your allergy.

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