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Dust Allergy - Risks, Diagnosis & Treatment Of It!

Written and reviewed by
DNB (Oto Rhino Laryngology), MBBS
ENT Specialist, Pune  •  14 years experience
Dust Allergy - Risks, Diagnosis & Treatment Of It!

In reality, dust allergy is precipitated by dust mites, a kind of microorganisms that thrive in dust. They acquire their food from dead skin cells and absorb water from the environment and thrive. Moist and warm environments are ideal for them to thrive. However, they themselves don’t cause allergic symptoms.

It is the response of the immune system to them that precipitates the symptoms. Once they are inside the human respiratory system, the immune system responds to them in a negative way. This leads to the production of histamines, a kind of protein that abates swelling, cough, mucous production, runny nose, sneezing, etc.

Symptoms of Dust Allergy:

Dust allergies may lead to various symptoms, some of which may be short lived, while others may be chronic. Some of these symptoms may also be life threatening. While in general people may suffer from running nose, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, postnasal drip, swollen skin under the eyes, etc., in severe cases, people may also suffer from asthma, chest pain and tightness, trouble in sleeping due to shortness of breath, bouts of severe cough, sinus infection, etc.

Risk Factors:

Some of the common risk factors are: 

  1. Family History: People who have a family history of dust allergy are most susceptible to this problem. These people develop a sensitivity to dust mites.

  2. Exposure: Exposure to dust mites is the main cause of dust allergy. If someone is exposed to dust mites for a long time, it enhances the risk of allergy symptoms.

  3. Being a Child: Children are more susceptible to it than adults. They are more likely to develop allergies during childhood and early adulthood compared to adults.

Diagnosis:

Most dust allergy symptoms are similar to common cough and cold symptoms. This is why it is necessary to confirm that the symptoms owe their origin to dust allergy. As a primary physical examination, the doctor may examine the lining of nasal passage to see if it is swollen.

In case the person is allergic to dust or pollen, the lining of the nasal passage is likely to become inflamed. However, the doctor also needs to conduct some tests. He may conduct skin tests and blood tests to confirm the allergy. If the allergy is confirmed, the doctor goes for treatment.

Treatment:

There are a number of treatment options for dust allergy. Some of these may act as over-the-counter to counter the effects of dust allergy, while others may act as modulators to modulate the immune response.

  1. Antihistamines: These are medicines that counter histamines responsible for allergic reactions like itching, runny nose, sneezing, etc.

  2. Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are usually delivered through nasal sprays to bring down inflammation and control the allergic response of the immune system.

  3. Decongestants: They help to decongest nasal airways which get inflamed and swell up due to allergic reactions.

  4. Leukotriene Modifiers: These medicines block certain immune system chemicals responsible for allergic reactions and prevent allergic reactions.

  5. Immunotherapy: The doctor may go for immunotherapy if no other effort is yielding any results. This therapy trains the immune system so that it does not become sensitive to dust mites. It is delivered via injections.

Conclusion:

The primary defense against dust allergy is avoiding breathing in dust. However, if a person is already exposed to them, there are a number of medicines and treatment options to prevent a flare up.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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