It is quite a scary sight to see your child break out into paroxysms of sneezing or episodes of shortness of breath suddenly without any apparent reason. Occasionally asthma like symptoms can also occur which require immediate medical assistance.
Together with this, you may see that your child may feel itchy and may also break out into rashes. You may wonder what exactly caused such a severe reaction in your child and maybe quite surprised to learn that your child may be suffering from dust allergies which tend to occur more indoors the outside. These allergies occur all throughout the year and usually precipitate after cleaning, sweeping or vacuuming the house. Any kind of cleaning activity triggers an allergic response in children who are sensitive to dust and dust mites.
Dust allergies are usually an abnormal response of our body's immune system to dust or dust mites. Dust mites are found practically in all homes and pretty difficult to totally avoid it.
Dust mites, also known as bed mites are the most usual form of allergy to house dust. These dust mites are extremely small and tiny creatures which usually flourish in warm and humid climates. House mites feed on dead skin flakes from humans and pets. They are found in the bedding, carpets, furnishings and clothing. The exact cause of this dust allergy is due to the protein present in the waste droppings which cause the hypersensitive reaction in the body. In a day a house mite produces about 18-20 droppings which cause allergic symptoms and reaction. Other causes of dust allergies include pollen, dander, cockroaches and pet dander such as fur, hair and feathers. Our houses are full of these small dust particles which cannot be seen but can precipitate a severe reaction.
- Running nose
- Watering of eyes
- Wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath
- Severe itching
These symptoms can persist and appear as if your child is suffering from a persistent cold or asthma. A thorough evaluation will help us in understanding the actual allergen responsible for these symptoms.
How to Manage Dust Allergies
If you feel your child could be suffering an allergy from any of the above it is best to see an allergist. After a complete analysis and detailed history, your doctor may advise certain skin prick tests to determine the exact allergen.
Protocol for treatment includes medications to control symptoms, immunotherapy or allergy shots and lastly the most important aspect which avoidance of dust.
Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants are commonly given to reduce the intensity of symptoms and allergy shots are given to improve overall immunity and resistance against allergies.
There are many ways to reduce your child's exposure to house dust mites. Simple steps include:
- Always keep your child's bed clean by washing bed sheets and pillowcases every week. Use a dust mite cover on the bed to protect your child when sleeping
- Keep your house clean avoiding clutter and vacuuming regularly
- Clean and vacuum carpets and soft beddings and furnishings
- Instead of carpets use wood as flooring
- Avoid the entry of pets into an allergic child's room
- If cockroaches are a known problem consult a safe and well-known pest services
- Keep all food covered and dispose of waste in a clean and hygienic manner
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