Category Archives: Dust Mite

How To Prevent Winter Allergies

Winter months can be rough for people who are allergic to mold spores and dust mites, and holiday decorations may contribute to the problem.

“During the winter, families spend more time indoors, exposing allergic individuals to allergens and irritants like dust mites, pet dander, smoke, household sprays and chemicals, and gas fumes — any of which can make their lives miserable,” Dr. William Reisacher, director of the Allergy Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a medical center news release.

winter allergy prevention

If you know what’s causing your winter allergies, you can help prevent them.

One way to prevent a winter allergy flare-up is to keep holiday decorations mold-free.

“Mold spores can cause additional problems compared to pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive,” said Dr. Rachel Miller, director of allergy and immunology at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, which is part of the medical center.

Click to read expert advice on avoiding winter allergies.

Christmas Allergies

Allergies During the Holiday Season

Are holiday allergies keeping you on the sidelines? Take control of your symptoms with these quick tips.

Pass the tissues and antihistamine please — ’tis the season for holiday allergies. Like unwanted gifts, sneezing and congestion arrive, making allergy sufferers miserable and putting a damper on holiday fun.

Fortunately you don’t have to be sidelined from the festivities. Whether it’s symptoms to food, pets, mold or mildew, allergies during the holidays can be beat — with lifestyle changes, medication, and a few simple tips.

Why Allergies Spike During the Holidays

Lots of holiday favorites can trigger or irritate allergies, from food and pets to wood-burning fires and seasonal greenery. And while you may manage allergy symptoms pretty well most of the year, symptoms to indoor allergens like these can really spike during the holiday season.

Why? Blame our tendency to snuggle in when the weather cools.

“You’re in a closed-up house, the heater is on, the windows shut — that’s why indoor allergies get worse in the winter,” says Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine (allergy/immunology), at the College of Wisconsin. You can do a lot to alleviate holiday allergies — but first you need to know what’s triggering your symptoms to begin with.

Read more about what causes allergies during the holiday season.

10 Point Halloween Allergy Plan For Your Child

Kids love Halloween. How do parents make sure their kids are safe from allergies on Halloween? Here is a plan to help.

Food allergies at Halloween

Protect Your Ghosts and Goblins From Allergies!

  1. First and foremost is prevention. If you’re not sure what your children are allergic to, you can’t prevent a reaction. You can get tested at your doctor’s office or perhaps it’s more convenient and affordable to purchase a home allergy test kit.
  2. Your child should needs to know what treats they are taking. If he or she is allergic to wheat, only gluten-free goodies are allowed! Here are some great recipes for gluten-free treats specifically for Halloween.
  3. Talk to parents and teachers about providing non-candy treats such as haunting stickers, witch finger puppets, spider rings or glow in the dark ghost stickers. They are many fun things that your child may enjoy even more than candy and will definitely last longer.
  4. Review the labels of any treats your child brings home. The terms can be confusing sometimes so if there’s an ingredient you don’t recognize be sure to look it up first.
  5. Make-up can trigger skin allergies so be sure to investigate their face paint before applying it.
  6. If your loved one is going to a haunted house, get the details first as fog machines can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.
  7. When you get out Halloween decorations from last year or a hand-me-down costume, wipe them down and wash them off first. They may be dusty or even have mold spores depending on where they were stored.
  8. Pumpkin patches can harbor mold in damp areas. It may be best to head to your local farmer’s market for a pre-picked pumpkin that you can take home and wash before the carving ensues.
  9. If your kid is not too embarrassed, accompany them to any Halloween events they participate in (classroom party, trick-or-treating, haunted house). If they are embarrassed, be sure they are educated enough to be safe or make a parental executive decision that’s best for your family.
  10. Be sure to carry an epi pin or your child’s allergy plan just in case.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Sources: http://www.acaai.org/allergist/news/New/Pages/Halloween-Fun.aspx                                                                                                 http://news.yahoo.com/top-tricks-managing-food-allergies-halloween-110223346.html

 

The Most Common Fall Allergies and How to Prevent Them

Most people think of spring as the main allergy season, but fall can be terrible too, especially with the hotter than normal temperatures much of the country is experiencing.

Do you have a cold or is it fall allergies? Experiencing symptoms such as sneezing, sniffles, trouble sleeping, and itchy skin, eyes, nose, or throat? What can you do about fall allergy season? The first step is education and the second step is prevention. You need to be educated on what causes the autumnal allergies. Here are the 3 most common allergy triggers:

  1. Ragweed
  2. Dust Mites
  3. Mold

Now to prevent experiencing allergic reactions based on the top triggers, do the following:

      Ragweed:  If possible avoid being outdoors from 5am-10am on hot, dry windy days. If you must be outside, wear a mask. Don’t worry they are very stylish – more so than a runny nose and red, irritated eyes anyway! The ragweed count in the air is highest at this time. No ragweed in your area? Beware – it can travel up to 400 miles through the air from the location of the actual plant.
Ragweed Pollen

Ragweed allergies are common from mid-August through the end of November

  1. Dust Mites: Wash your sheets! I know your mom has told you this many times, but really, it could actually improve your daily well-being. Remove and/or clean anything that just sits there: stuffed animals (I know they have sentimental value…), artwork, curtains, carpet, etc and definitely get some dust mite covers. These are low-cost and worth it.

    Prevent Dust Mite Allergies

    A dust mite cover is the simplest way to prevent dust mite allergies

  2. Mold: Guess what? Mold spores all over fallen leaves. If you have leaves in your yard, you or your family may be suffering. This is especially common for kids who love to play in the leaves.

    Fall allergies from fall leaves

    As pretty as these fall leaves are, they can cause allergic reactions!

If you’re not sure if you have a cold or allergies, it would be wise to consider getting tested. You can get tested at your doctor’s office or you can order a simple allergy test at home.

Free Allergy Screenings!

Free allergy screenings will be available from 11am-3pm on September 24th using ImmuneTech’s Allergy Test at Giant Eagle Grocery Store locations, sponsored by Giant Eagle and Allegra.

Check to see if there is a location near you. If there is not a free screening in your area, you click to order your low-cost allergy test. Use discount code “ILG” at checkout for 15% off!

4300 Kent Road, State Route 59, Stow, OH 44224, (330) 686-7829

6493 Strip Avenue N.W., North, Canton, OH 44720, (330) 497-7902

351 Center Street, Chardon, OH 44024, (440) 286-4949

8515 Tanglewood Square, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023, (440) 543-5144

2201 Kresge Drive, Amherst, OH 44001, (440) 282-7614

4747 Sawmill Road, Columbus, OH 43220, (614) 923-0475

873 Refugee Road, Pickerington, OH 43147, (614) 866-3693

344 Goucher Street, Johnstown, PA 15905, (814) 288-6918

4010 Monroeville Boulevard, Monroeville, PA 15146, (412) 372-1220

1671 Butler Plank Road, Glenshaw, PA 15116, (412) 961-0614

4007 Washington Road, McMurray, PA 15317, (724) 941-7220

9880 Olde US 20, Rossford, OH 43460-1716, (419) 874-2415

100 N Main Street, DuBois, PA 15801, (814) 375-3708

Microscopic bugs & allergies?

Just the thought of microscopic bugs living in my pillow, sofa, or carpet is enough to give me the creeps! These little creatures live uninvited in our homes. Yikes!  Dust mites are microscope bugs that primarily live on dead skin cells regularly shed from humans and their animal pets. Dust mites are generally harmless to most people. They don’t carry diseases, but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their feces.

According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, approximately 10 percent of Americans exhibit allergic sensitivity to dust mites. In the spring, pollen aggravates allergies, and dust mite infestations make it worse. The fall and winter months are a particular problem, as we close up our houses and the concentrations of dust mites and their feces increases inside.

Skin cells and scales, commonly called dander, are often concentrated inside your home in areas that are soft with cushions and pillows. These cushioned areas not only are excellent collectors for dead skin cells and dander, but also provide wonderful homes for dust mites. The average human sloughs off 1/3 ounce (10 grams) of dead skin a week. That gives dust mites a lot to eat. Cats and dogs create far more dander for dust mites to eat.

A typical mattress can contain tens of thousands of dust mites. Nearly 100,000 mites can live in one square yard of carpet. These little creatures eat like crazy! A single dust mite produces about 20 waste droppings each day, each containing a protein to which many people are allergic. Yuck! The proteins in that combination of feces and shed skin are what cause allergic reactions in humans. Depending on the person and exposure, reactions can range from itchy eyes to asthma attacks. The good news, though, is unlike other types of mites, house dust mites are not parasites, since they only eat dead tissue.

Dust Mite Colony

Dust Mite Colony

Dust mite allergy symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

    • Sneezing
    • Runny nose
    • Itchy, red or watery eyes
    • Nasal congestion
    • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
    • Postnasal drip
    • Cough
    • Facial pressure and pain
    • Frequent awakening
    • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
    • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

If your dust mite allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience:

      • Difficulty breathing
      • Chest tightness or pain
      • An audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
      • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
      • Bouts of coughing or wheezing that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu

A dust mite allergy can range from mild to severe. A mild case of dust mite allergy may cause an occasional runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. In severe cases, the condition may be ongoing, or chronic, resulting in persistent sneezing, cough, congestion, facial pressure or severe asthma attack.

Some signs and symptoms of dust mite allergy, such as a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of the common cold. Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you have a cold or an allergy. If symptoms persist for more than one week, you might have an allergy. If you think you have an allergy, it is always best to get tested to confirm or deny that allergy.

ImmuneTech has an allergy test which you can order online and provide a little finger stick blood sample in the comfort of your home. This sample is then returned to ImmuneTech and is processed using complex technology to determine your allergies. You can order the test from www.immunetech.com. Use code ILG for a 15% discount! Another option for testing allergies is to see an allergist. Regardless how you choose to get tested for allergies, the key is to get tested!

If you do test positive for dust mite allergies, beyond taking medications that may be prescribed by your physician, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of dust mites in your home. Actually, I think these are great ideas whether or not one has dust mite allergies! I think reducing the number of these little creatures in my home is a good thing, regardless!

While you can’t completely eliminate dust mites from your home, you can significantly reduce their number. Use these suggestions:

      • Use allergen-proof bed covers. Cover your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers. These covers, made of tightly woven fabric, prevent dust mites from colonizing or escaping from the mattress or pillows. Encase box springs in allergen-proof covers.
      • Wash bedding weekly. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bedcovers in hot water that is at least 130 F (54.4 C) to kill dust mites and remove allergens. If bedding can’t be washed hot, put the items in the drier for at least 20 minutes at a temperature above 130 F (54.4 C) to kill the mites. Then wash and dry the bedding to remove allergens. Freezing non-washable items for 24 hours also can kill dust mites, but this won’t remove the allergens.
      • Keep humidity low. Maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent in your home. A dehumidifier or air conditioner can help keep humidity low, and a hygrometer (available at hardware stores) can measure humidity levels.
      • Choose bedding wisely. Avoid bedcovers that trap dust easily and are difficult to clean frequently.
      • Buy washable stuffed toys. Wash them often in hot water and dry thoroughly. Also, keep stuffed toys off beds.
      • Remove dust. Use a damp or oiled mop or rag rather than dry materials to clean up dust. This prevents dust from becoming airborne and resettling.
      • Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming carpeting and upholstered furniture removes surface dust — but vacuuming isn’t effective at removing most dust mites and dust mite allergens. Use a vacuum cleaner with a double-layered microfilter bag or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to help decrease house-dust emissions from the cleaner. If your allergies are severe, leave the area being vacuumed while someone else does the dirty work. Stay out of the vacuumed room for 20 minutes after vacuuming.
      • Cut clutter. If it collects dust, it also collects dust mites. Remove knickknacks, tabletop ornaments, books, magazines and newspapers from your bedroom.
      • Remove carpeting and other dust mite habitats. Carpeting provides a comfortable habitat for dust mites. This is especially true if carpeting is over concrete, which holds moisture easily and provides a humid environment for mites. If possible, replace wall-to-wall bedroom carpeting with tile, wood, linoleum or vinyl flooring. Consider replacing other dust-collecting furnishings in bedrooms, such upholstered furniture, non-washable curtains and horizontal blinds.

References:

http://www.dust-mite.net/dust-mites-pictures/

http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/dustmites.php

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dust-mites/DS00842