First of all, it is worth knowing that house dust mites are the most common trigger of indoor allergies, causing symptoms such as blocked nose, sneezing, sore eyes and breathing difficulties, all of which can lead to poor sleep that results in daytime sleepiness and fatigue. On a day to day basis, all the symptoms can actually have a significant impact on your quality of life.
“Being aware that you suffer from house dust mite allergy and knowing the facts about the illness can mean a world of difference in making sure that you find relief for your symptoms, and put an end to feeling a bit ill all year round”, says international renowned allergy expert at ALK Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
Facts about house dust mites in the home
The allergy is triggered by allergens from house dust mites which are very small, eight legged animals that prefer living in dark places. The highest populations of house dust mites are found in the bedroom, mostly on mattresses, pillows and bed linen. However, house dust mites can reside everywhere in homes, most commonly in upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, curtains and soft toys.
House dust mites can survive in all climates and are found in most homes all year round, making them very difficult to avoid. Neither vacuuming nor any kind of dust mite spray or dry cleaning can get fully rid of the house dust mites, but it is possible to remove and minimise the exposure to the house dust mite allergen by making changes to your daily routines.
Diagnosis and treatment are essential
If you suspect that you might suffer from house dust mite allergy, but have not been tested or diagnosed yet, you should consult your doctor. The doctor will typically ask about the history of your symptoms and perform a skin prick to clarify if you have house dust mite allergy. This is an important first step in your fight against the symptoms because once you know if you suffer from house dust mite allergy the disease can be controlled by one of the many treatments available from your doctor.
“When people with house dust mite allergy receive the right treatment, there is often great progress to be seen. Suddenly, these people sleep much better at night and function better during the day than many might have in years. Furthermore house dust mite allergy is closely linked to the development of asthma which emphasise the importance of taking the condition seriously and actively seeking diagnosis and treatment”, says Jørgen Nedergaard Larsen.
You have different treatment options
There are many options for treating your house dust mite allergy. The options range from over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription symptomatic medicines, to more long-term treatments like allergy immunotherapy. The two overall ways of treatment have both shown to provide relief and put an end to the discomfort and the sensation of feeling ill, but there are some differences:
Symptomatic treatments work while taking the medicine, but have no long-term effect. They reduce the symptoms of allergy, but unlike allergy immunotherapy, do not induce tolerance. Most symptomatic treatments are available over-the-counter (OTC), e.g. in supermarkets or pharmacies. Symptomatic treatments can include antihistamines, nasal and inhaled steroids and decongestants.
Allergy immunotherapy treatment has a long-term effect with sustained improvement, including in the years following treatment. The main difference between symptomatic and immunotherapy treatment is that immunotherapy induces tolerance and alters the natural course of the disease.
Choosing a treatment option that is right for you should be decided in close consultation with your doctor. Influencing factors include the cause of your allergy and how severe your symptoms are.