Allergic rhinitis and dust mites

There are many causes of allergic rhinitis but here we focus on the impact of dust mites


Louise Baillie
Allergies Advisor
@AVogelUK
Ask Louise

Allergic rhinitis

In someone with allergic rhinitis the immune system deems allergens like pollen and mould spores as dangerous so does its upmost to get rid of them.  This involves releasing lots of histamine which, in turn, causes symptoms like inflammation, skin irritation and itching.  However, the mucous membranes lining the nasal passages can also be irritated by the allergen which leads to an excess production of mucus and therefore congestion.

Allergic rhinitis and dust mites

Allergic rhinitis is extremely common amongst adults and children alike and, although pollen and animals are the most likely causes, dust mites have part to play in the development of symptoms as well. 

However, allergic rhinitis isn’t caused by the dust mites themselves, but by a chemical found inside their excrement.  It is this that causes the main symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing and congestion.

What are dust mites?

House dust mites are miniscule insects that feed on the flakes of dead human and animal skin.  The average adult sheds 1.5g of skin a day which is enough to feed, rather astonishingly, 1 million dust mites!  This skin finds its way into various areas around the home including mattresses, soft furniture, pillows and beds so dust mites thrive in these areas.  Carpets and rugs can also be problematic though as these are warm and humid so provide dust mites with ideal living conditions. Even cuddly toys are the perfect spot for these creatures to hide in! 

Allergic rhinitis, which is caused by dust mites, can become chronic and long-lasting as these little creatures are present all year round.  They are, however, most common in winter when their numbers tend to peak and so this is when symptoms may intensify.

What can you do to ease symptoms?

It’s difficult to vanish dust mites from your home completely however, limiting your exposure to them will help your condition so it’s important to take steps towards this.

Bedding – if allergic rhinitis is troubling you, it is possible to purchase dust-proof covers for your mattress and pillows.  This makes it more difficult for dust mites to get into your bedding.

Dehumidifier – to make conditions less ideal for dust mites, you can use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity in your home.  These are widely available and should help your symptoms so make a good investment.

Fabrics – there are various fabrics that are difficult to wash but that dust mites thrive in so avoiding having these in your home is a good way to help ease your symptoms.  Blinds, upholstered furniture, down-filled covers and cushions are examples of such fabrics.

Flooring – with allergic rhinitis it is still possible to have rugs and carpets in your home but these must be cleaned regularly.  Wooden flooring is preferable as this gives dust mites less cover to hide in.

Soft toys – no, I’m not asking you to get rid of your beloved ted however, you do need to keep them free of dust mites if you want to help your symptoms!  Dust mites can collect in soft toys and, surprisingly, the best way to get rid of them is to freeze them.  Pop your bear in a plastic bag and then in the freezer for at least five hours. Afterwards, rinse it in warm water and then place it in the tumble dryer to get rid of any dead mites.

Washing - to help ease your symptoms, you should try to wash your bed linen at least once a week in hot water to get rid of any dust mites that may be lurking there. 

Treatments

If allergic rhinitis symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life it may be time to visit your doctor to obtain help in addressing the problem.

Anti-histamines – it is common for doctors to prescribe anti-histamines as this will block the release of the chemical histamine which is produced in high quantities when you come into contact with an allergen.

Decongestants - these are also prescribed by doctors to relieve specific problems such as sinus pressure and a stuffy nose. However, they are only a short-term solution so, as dust mites can cause chronic allergic rhinitis, they are not the first choice of doctors in this instance.

Corticosteroids - these help to reduce swelling and inflammation on a longer term basis so if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, this medication is often prescribed by doctors.

Herbal help

If allergic rhinitis is getting you down, you’ll no doubt be looking for as much information as possible on the various treatments available.  Fortunately, A.Vogel has many natural, herbal remedies that will help ease your symptoms.

Pollinosan hayfever tablets – these non-drowsy tablets can be taken for both hayfever and allergic rhinitis.  They are completely natural and contain seven tropical herbs that help to address allergies to pollen, animals and dust.  This therefore eases issues like sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, congestion and a tickly nose or throat.

Eye drops you may also find it helpful to address some of the symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis such as watery, itchy and irritated eyes.  I’d recommend our eye drops for this as they contain Euphrasia which helps to ease symptoms quickly and effectively.

Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets

120 tablets

£ 10.50

find your local stockist

Tablets for the relief of hayfever and allergic rhinitis. Non-drowsy. Previously known as Luffa …
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Pollinosan Luffa Nasal Spray for hayfever & allergies

Cleansing nasal spray for hayfever causing pollen and other air-borne respiratory allergens.
More info

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