Don’t feel like you’re sleeping well? The reason is often more obvious than you think. Perhaps you are suffering from an allergy to your bedfellows: an allergy to house dust mites, often referred to as “house dust allergy” in everyday language.
House dust mite allergy
In this video, the causes and symptoms of house dust allergy are explained and you will also learn about the treatment options available to you.
Typical symptoms of a house dust mite allergy
The symptoms of a house dust mite allergy are similar to those of a cold. Itchy or watery eyes, headache, scratchy throat, stuffy nose, cough or cold. People who are allergic to house dust mites surprisingly often experience these complaints in the morning. No wonder – after a night spent together under the same duvet!
Dust mites love the cosy climate of your upholstered furniture – in your sofa and of course in your bed. In principle, dust mites are harmless. Unless you are allergic to your millions of bedfellows. After all, you are exposed to their allergens every night for several hours. The consequences are obvious: you wake up exhausted, you have trouble concentrating and you are less productive.
Worse still: the constant fatigue caused by the symptoms of your house dust allergy takes its toll on your morale. A bad mood is inevitable.
The best thing to do is to stop letting your allergy bother you at night and during the day and thus save yourself from further complications. It is also possible to treat your dust mite allergy at the source. If your allergy is not treated, you risk long-term health problems such as asthma.
What are dust mites?
House dust mites are small eight-legged animals and belong to the spider family. They are white and only about 0.3 mm long. It is impossible to completely prevent their presence. Even in the cleanest homes, we find dust mites, especially in dark and damp places. Mattresses, pillows and blankets are ideal habitats. In addition, dust mites like to colonise carpets and upholstered furniture. They find an ideal climate and sufficient food: the dead cells of human skin.
In themselves, dust mites are harmless unless you are allergic to them. In this case, mites cause unpleasant allergy symptoms. In fact, house dust allergy is triggered by enzymes found in animal excrement and in the dried body components of dust mites. With each breath we inhale these disintegrated particles.
Dust mites are among the most common allergy triggers in enclosed spaces. However, allergic people can also come into contact with them in public places, on public transport or through contact with other people.
Do you know these symptoms?
Most people experience the symptoms of their house dust allergy throughout the year. It is often during the cold season that the symptoms are most severe. Just when we want to get comfortable indoors, the air from the heating system whirls up the allergens.
The most common symptoms of house dust allergy are:
- Frequent sneezing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Feeling of tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath, wheezing or coughing
There are several things you can do to keep your allergy in check.
Depending on the allergy treatment you choose, you may be able to reduce the symptoms of your allergy or even tackle the cause. To find out which treatment option is best for you, consult a specialist practice near you as soon as possible. They are probably best placed to assess the extent of your allergy based on the symptoms you have described. Based on these parameters and your individual wishes, you will find the best solution for you together.
Reduce contact with allergens!
Avoiding dust mites completely is simply not possible. Exposure to dust mites as little as possible is not. There are a few tricks you can use to reduce the number of dust mites in your home:
- The room temperature and humidity in the bedroom should be kept as low as possible.
- The house should be thoroughly aired at least once a day.
- Sheets should be changed more often and washed at least 60 degrees.
- Use encasings: these are covers that are impervious to dust mites and thus cut them off from their food sources. The cost of these covers is reimbursed by some health insurance companies. Check with your health insurance company.
- Clean your mattresses once a year.
- Don’t let pets into the bedroom or, ideally, don’t have any at all.
- Don’t have any dust traps in the flat.
- Smooth floor coverings should be cleaned regularly with a damp cloth every day or two.
- Vacuum regularly. The hoover should be equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Sofa cushions, stuffed animals and similar objects in which dust mites feel comfortable can be placed in the freezer for 24 hours or exposed to higher temperatures for a while in the tumble dryer. Both methods kill the mites and therefore also reduce the allergen load.
Relieve your allergy symptoms
You may want to use medication to control your allergy symptoms. In case of acute symptoms, antihistamines in the form of drops or tablets can provide relief. Most allergy preparations are available in pharmacies without a prescription, but some require a prescription. It is always a good idea to seek medical advice before taking any medication.
Fighting the cause of your allergy
Allergy immunotherapy, also known as hyposensitisation, is a promising form of treatment that does more than just relieve symptoms. The goal of allergy immunotherapy is to build up tolerance to a specific allergen. If you want to get to the root cause of your allergy, talk to your doctor to find out if this treatment is right for you.
Don’t let your allergy limit you.
Symptom-relieving medicines can quickly free you from your allergy problems. Do your symptoms persist? Or do you need higher and higher doses to control your symptoms? Then you may benefit from allergy immunotherapy.
In Germany, about one tenth of the population reacts allergically to house dust mite allergens. House dust allergy is therefore one of the most common allergies. In common parlance, this allergy is often called “house dust allergy”. The symptoms often resemble those of colds and hay fever. As with other allergies, symptoms can be relieved in the short term with medication. In the long term, allergy immunotherapy can provide relief. In the case of house dust allergy, it is particularly important to reduce exposure to allergens by controlling dust mites.