It is estimated that between six and twelve percent of Germans suffer from house dust allergy (house dust mite allergy). The symptoms are similar to those of other allergies, ranging from itching and sneezing to breathlessness and asthma. But what to do with a house dust allergy? With a few tips, such as the regular change of bed linen and the use of a special vacuum cleaner, the symptoms can often already alleviate. Otherwise, taking medications and hyposensitization should be considered.
House dust allergy: Mites as polluters
In a house dust allergy, the allergic reaction is not directed - as the name suggests - against house dust, but against mite faeces. This is also the name dust mite allergy attributed. Mites are small arachnids found in every home. One gram of house dust contains up to 4, 000 mites. Their presence is completely normal and not a sign of poor hygiene.
Dust mites feed primarily on animal and human dander and hair. If her droppings dry up, he disintegrates and mixes with the house dust. The immune system of allergic reacts defensively to the actually harmless feces and it comes to the said allergic-typical symptoms. Thus, the cause of a house dust allergy lies in an exaggerated reaction of the immune system.
Mites feel particularly comfortable at 25 degrees and a humidity of 70 percent and therefore keep them mainly in our beds. But also in carpets, upholstered furniture and stuffed animals you can find larger amounts of mites. Due to the climate, mite concentration is highest in late summer and autumn. The symptoms of allergy, however, occur particularly strongly in winter, because the humidity in the home sinks and particularly many mites die off. This process releases large quantities of allergens.
Typical symptoms of a house dust allergy
Like other allergies, a house dust allergy is characterized by a series of unpleasant symptoms. However, since many symptoms are similar to those of a cold, a house dust allergy is often detected late or not at all. Typical signs of a house dust allergy include:
- to cough
- Sneezing and runny nose
- difficulty in breathing
- Sore throat
- a headache
- Itching, especially in the eyes
- Restless sleep
If these symptoms persist throughout the year and increase at night and in the morning after getting up, this indicates a house-dust allergy.
Asthma as a possible consequence
Patients who suffer from house dust allergy for an extended period can develop asthma. This relocation of the disease to the lower respiratory tract is referred to as a change of level. Especially asthma in childhood often has its cause in a house dust allergy. In order to avoid such serious consequences, you should consult a doctor early in case of complaints and talk to him about possible treatment options.
Whether you suffer from a house dust allergy, the doctor can easily find out with an allergy test (prick test). The allergens are injected directly under the skin. If a red, itchy rash develops after some time, the test is considered positive. For ambiguous test results, the allergens can also be applied directly to the nasal or the ocular mucosa.
What to do with a house dust allergy? 7 tips against mites
In the case of a house dust allergy, you should first and foremost try to fight the mites and thus avoid the trigger of the allergy as much as possible. That is why it is especially important to follow certain hygienic rules. Then the symptoms of house dust allergy can usually be significantly reduced.
- Try to keep the room temperature and humidity in the bedroom as low as possible. Also, be sure to thoroughly ventilate the apartment at least once a day.
- Change bed linen more often and wash at least 60 degrees. Once a year you should also clean your mattress. In addition, use mite-resistant allergy coatings (encasings) to cut the mites off their food source. Also for the bed linen offer mite-impermeable allergy coatings.
- Do not change your clothes or shoes in the bedroom. Also, avoid combing your hair in the bedroom.
- If you have pets, you should not leave them in the bedroom. With a heavy house dust allergy, you should even better do without pets. Cuddly toys should be frozen in the freezer at regular intervals for 24 hours or put in the tumble dryer.
- Remove any dust collectors from the bedroom: In addition to stuffed animals, these include curtains and carpets. You should also do without plants in the bedroom.
- Regularly clean your home: always wipe off damp dust and use a vacuum cleaner with a microfilter. If you suffer from a house dust allergy, you should not vacuum yourself if possible.
- To measure the current level of mite pollution in your home, a mite test from the pharmacy is helpful.
Hyposensitization combats the cause
Medication such as antihistamines or glucocorticoid solutions can help against the acute symptoms of a house-dust allergy. Also an adrenaline spray for inhalation can help alleviate the discomfort. If these medicines do not help you enough, you should think about hyposensitization.
By hyposensitization, in contrast to the above-mentioned drugs not only the symptoms of house dust allergy are combated, but also their cause, as the body is slowly getting used to the allergenic substance. This significantly reduces the risk of chronic respiratory damage.
In hyposensitization, the allergen is either administered to the patient as a drop or injected directly under the skin. Thus, the immune system is trained not to react so strongly on contact with the allergen. However, a hyposensitization needs patience: it can take several years to complete the therapy.
Homeopathy for house dust allergy
Many allergists also work with homoeopathic remedies for a house dust allergy. In a homeopathic treatment, the remedies are selected so that they produce similar symptoms in a healthy person as those in which the patient suffers. This can lead to an aggravation of the symptoms in the treatment of a home dust allergy with homeopathy. Whether homeopathic treatment actually relieves the symptoms is controversial.