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Enemy in My Bed: Understanding House Dust Mite Allergy

House dust mites, those minuscule arachnids dwelling in every household, feed on our skin flake unnoticed by the naked eye. Dust mites are very tiny, typically measuring 1/16th of an inch or smaller. They are pretty flat, with their stomachs being shaped like a horseshoe. Their colors can range from white to tan depending on where they were raised or what food source is available.

Their presence can wreak havoc on our skin and mucous membranes, provoking allergic reactions that manifest in various forms.

Common Symptoms:

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Itching

  • Hives

These symptoms not only compromise comfort but also significantly impact quality of life, often necessitating medical attention.

Dust mites and skin House dust mites are responsible for allergies because their feces and bodies contain potent allergens. If you have allergies, you may already be allergic to dust mites. Some people are more sensitive to dead skin cells from dust mites than they are to pet dander or pollen!

In addition to triggering persistent allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma, they can also lead to skin changes. Contact reactions to these allergens can manifest themselves on the skin in various forms: Eczema and urticaria.

Especially in people with neurodermatitis and house dust mite allergies, contact with house dust mite allergens can lead to an increase in inflammatory, itchy skin redness (eczema). A flare-up of eczema can be very stressful for the patient, as directly visible areas such as the eyelids are often affected. Urticaria is a rare skin reaction caused by house dust mite allergy that manifests itself as sudden, itchy hives and redness on the skin.

Diagnosis and Treatment: A comprehensive examination by a dermatology and allergology specialist is essential for accurate diagnosis. Common diagnostic methods include medical history assessment, skin tests, and blood tests to confirm sensitization to dust mite allergens and exclude other skin diseases.

Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, improve skin health, and prevent relapses. Strategies include allergen avoidance, topical cortisone, emollients, and antihistamines. For persistent cases, allergen-specific immunotherapy may be considered, gradually desensitizing the immune system to dust mite allergens.

Dust Mite Allergy Treatments

Reducing exposure to dust mite allergens in the living environment is crucial. This includes, for example, regular vacuuming and damp mopping as well as washing bed linen at high temperatures (60 degrees Celsius) at least every two weeks. Cuddly toys, for example, should also be washed hot or frozen at -18 degrees Celsius for 48 hours. The use of allergy-proof covers for mattresses, duvets and pillows is also recommended. Its fibres are so finely woven that mite allergens cannot penetrate them and thus skin and mucous membrane contact can be avoided. In addition, the use of old mattresses should be avoided if possible. Using a vacuum cleaner with an extra filter can also significantly reduce dust and therefore mite allergen levels. Regular ventilation helps to make living conditions more difficult for the mites by reducing the humidity.

Antihistamines in the form of tablets can effectively relieve itching.

Skin Care Advice: Empower your skin with daily moisturizing care, avoiding irritants whenever possible. Opt for fragrance-free, preservative-free products and minimize hot showers, opting for moisturizing alternatives like shower oils.

Let's Take Action: make sure your bedroom is as dust-free as possible by doing regular house cleaning, including vacuuming carpets and upholstery, washing bedding weekly in hot water, removing stuffed animals from the room, using allergen-proof mattress encasements on mattresses, box springs, and pillows.

Dust is often around the home to prevent an accumulation of allergens that will affect sensitive ones. Remove carpets if possible since they provide a suitable environment for dust mites to thrive.

If you don’t own a home or can’t remove carpets, keep them vacuumed and as clean as possible using the proper tools (a good quality vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will pick up 98% of the dust mites and their allergens).

Remember, timely diagnosis and comprehensive therapy are our strongest allies in this battle. To embark on a journey towards skin resilience, consult with a specialist in dermatology and allergology today.


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