Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny bugs that commonly live in house dust. Signs of dust mite allergy include sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. When a person with an allergy breathes in the leftover dust mite remnants, his or her immune system kicks into gear, producing antibodies against the normally harmless substances. It's this overzealous immune response that's responsible for the symptoms associated with a dust mite allergy, such as sneezing and runny nose.
The Swiss Study on Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA) was carried out during in eight Swiss areas with different environmental characteristics. Skin sensitization was predominantly caused by grass pollen (12.7%), followed by house dust mite (8.9%), silver birch pollen (7.9%) and cat epithelia (3.8%). 11.1% suffered from current hay fever, 6.8% from asthma, 4.5% from atopic asthma. Dust mite allergy was reported to be 8.9% among the skin allergies caused.
House dust is easily trapped in the fibers of bed linens, furniture cushions and carpeting. These materials also hold moisture well. Consequently, bedrooms are ideal habitats for dust mites. Dust also contains the feces and decaying bodies of dust mites, and it's the proteins present in this dust mite "debris" that are the culprit in dust mite allergy.
Minimizing an allergic person's exposure to dust mites is the best treatment option, but if that doesn't work, several over-the-counter and prescription medications are available that can help relieve the symptoms of a dust mite allergy. Antihistamines, such as the prescription Allegra and the over-the-counter Claritin, can help relieve sneezing, runny nose, and itching by minimizing the immune system’s response. Nasal corticosteroids such as Flonase or Nasonex reduce inflammation while offering fewer side effects than their oral counterparts. Decongestants, such as Sudafed or Afrin, shrink tissues in nasal passages, making it easier to breathe for many allergy sufferers.