Allergy to mites: this is how to manage it

They are microscopic and harmless, but not for everyone. Dust mites are in fact responsible for allergies that can be kept under control with the help of the allergist and putting into practice some small tricks within the walls of the house.

They hide in dust, and are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye, but for some their presence can still be really annoying.

They are dust mites, microorganisms capable of triggering allergic reactions even of an asthmatic type.

Causes and consequences of mite allergy

Unlike seasonal allergies, such as that to grasses, the allergy to mites is perennial, as it lasts throughout the year, although usually the symptoms tend to worsen in autumn: in this period the heating is turned on in all homes, thus creating a perfect habitat for the proliferation of these organisms.

In fact, mites to live and multiply prefer environments with temperatures above 20 ° C and humidity percentages over 50%.

To cause the real allergic attack are not the mites as such, but what remains of them following their decomposition, as well as substances present in their feces.

The symptoms are those typical of the most common allergic reactions, such as rhinitis (which involves the sensation of itching in the nose, continuous sneezing, etc.), conjunctivitis and eczema.

In the most severe forms, real asthma attacks can also occur: almost half of asthmatic patients suffer from mite allergy.

Those who are allergic to mites must also be careful with some foods, such as crustaceans, land and sea snails, mussels, as they contain the same allergen that triggers the reaction to dust mites. In this case we speak of cross-allergies, or allergic reactions triggered, in the same individual, by apparently different causes. Other cases of cross-allergies are caused by the presence of the same allergen in a plant and in a food. Here are some examples:

Plant Alimony
Grasses Tomato, kiwi, watermelon, peanut, wheat flour
Ambrosia Watermelon, melon, banana
Composite Celery, fennel, carrot, green pepper, parsley, chicory, chamomile
Parietaria Cherries, melon, basil

Some simple, but useful, tricks

In the domestic environment, mites tend to colonize mainly beds, sofas and furnishing fabrics such as curtains and carpets, as well as of course all the furniture on which dust accumulates.

In particular, mattress and pillow represent the perfect habitat for mites, thanks to the increase in temperature and humidity that develops with prolonged contact of the body, and to the large amount of scales that detach from the skin and scalp (favorite food of mites) following rubbing against sheets and pillowcase; That is why allergy symptoms, especially respiratory ones, often worsen during the night.

As with all allergies, the only real solution to avoid developing any symptoms is to avoid contact with the allergen: in the case of mites, although it is impossible to eliminate them completely, there are some tricks that can significantly reduce their concentration in the home environment:

  • use mattresses, pillows and “anti-mite” bedding, i.e. impermeable to allergens and breathable;
  • change bed linen a couple of times a week, washing everything at high temperatures to kill mites (60°C)
  • eliminate from the bedroom all furnishings and ornaments that can promote the accumulation of dust, using synthetic fabrics for curtains and blankets and eliminating carpets and carpets from the floor
  • for cleaning, to be carried out every day especially in the bedroom, use damp or electrostatic cloths to avoid raising dust and vacuum cleaners equipped with a Hepa filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air), which allows you to retain even small particles inside, such as allergens
  • Ventilate all the rooms of the house frequently and use dehumidifiers to prevent the percentage of humidity from increasing
  • Keep the temperature of the house below 20°C

Drugs and vaccines

As with other allergies, the diagnosis is carried out by a specialist on the basis of the medical history, symptoms and results of the prick test or blood tests to search for antibodies that reveal the substance responsible for allergic reactions.

Even the drugs to soothe the symptoms are the same prescribed in the case of other allergies, such as antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroidsbronchodilators, etc., but they are not effective in all patients, especially in the case of asthmatic crises.

In recent years, a new therapeutic frontier has also opened up in the allergy field, namely that of immunotherapy: so-called “vaccines” have been developed that can reduce both the symptoms and the use of drugs.

These properties have also been recently demonstrated for a mite vaccine, which not only decreases the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and the need for corticosteroids, but also seems to significantly decrease asthmatic respiratory crises.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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