Dust Mite Allergy in Singapore
If you suffer from a dust mite allergy, you should know how uncomfortable the symptoms can be; they can be quite debilitating if not controlled. Dust mite allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion and an itchy throat, are often mistaken for symptoms of COVID-19.
However, dust mite allergy symptoms and COVID flu-like symptoms are not identical. If you are experiencing symptoms that you suspect may be dust mite-related, here are some ways to experience relief and treatment options.
What is the difference between flu symptoms and dust mite allergy symptoms?
Flu symptoms and dust mite allergy symptoms are not identical. They do share some similarities but there are ways you can tell them apart.
If you enter a dusty environment and you start experiencing the following symptoms, then most likely your allergy has been triggered:
- Red, itchy, swollen, or teary eyes
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- A persistent cough
- Facial pressure
If you have asthma, a dust mite allergy may also trigger symptoms like:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
However, flu symptoms do not present in the same way. They usually involve:
- Shortness of Breath
- A loss of taste and/or smell
Some patients with COVID-19 might also experience nausea, body aches, diarrhoea, and vomiting.
You will also notice that dust mite allergy symptoms come and go depending on your exposure. But flu symptoms are consistent throughout the duration of your illness.
There are arguments that allergies also cause a loss of taste and smell when the patient is congested; however, loss of taste and smell because of a viral flu infection presents quite differently.
Some patients indicate that these symptoms come on suddenly and they tend to pick up strange and often unpleasant smells. Nobody quite understands how the virus is able to do this.
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How are dust mite allergies treated in Singapore?
Relief is the primary goal of any allergy sufferer; dust mite allergy treatment is centred around symptom management. Your doctor will recommend what is right for you. He may also recommend a combination of treatments depending on your needs.
Let’s discuss what is available:
As its name suggests, decongestants help relieve the sinus and nasal congestion that often comes with allergies.
Decongestants are not for everyone. If you suffer from hypertension, glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, or heart disease, this type of medication is not recommended.
Some allergy sufferers experience headaches, insomnia, irritability, and high blood pressure.
Histamines are the chemicals that your body releases in response to an allergen. As you may have guessed from the name, antihistamines block the production of histamine and help ease hives, swelling, runny nose and/or itchy eyes.
Antihistamines have one major side effect — drowsiness. So, if you are taking antihistamines, you need to be careful if you need to drive, operate machinery, or do any activity that requires your full attention. Dry eye might also be another symptom, especially if you are using eye drops.
Corticosteroids work by suppressing inflammation caused by your allergies.
When the inflammation is eliminated, symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and stuffiness improve.
Unfortunately, corticosteroids often come with some unpleasant side effects such as:
- Nasal irritation
- Sore throats
- Oral yeast infections
With long term usage, corticosteroids can cause;
- Muscle weakness
- Stomach ulcers
- Skin discoloration
- Abnormal hormonal levels
Leukotrienes are chemicals that the body produces that often trigger allergic symptoms. Leukotriene inhibitors block these chemicals. If this is a viable option for you, it can be prescribed by your doctor.
This prescription medication relieves runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Side effects of this medication are often psychological. Some patients who have used this medication reported to have had insomnia and anxiety.
*Please note that none of the above medications are cures. They only provide temporary relief.
However, if you are vigilant and try to eliminate or reduce your exposure to dust, these medications can be a powerful tool in your arsenal.
So, is there a cure for dust mite allergy in Singapore?
We treat dust mite allergies the same way we carry out allergy treatment in Singapore.
Allergy Immunotherapy is based on the premise that you can train your body to not react to your allergic triggers.
This type of treatment is mostly used for grass, pollen, and dust mite allergies.
Briefly, here’s how it works:
Small doses of allergens are introduced into the body. These doses are slowly increased and over time you become less sensitive to the allergen. We refer to this treatment as sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).
Immunotherapy has had tremendous success in reducing inflammation associated with rhinitis and asthma. Patients may expect to experience a significant reduction in congestion, runny nose, and eye irritation.
The reason why immunotherapy is viewed as a potential cure is that the goal is to eliminate the allergy altogether.
How can I prevent dust mite allergies?
Avoiding exposure to dust mites is the best way to prevent flare ups and control your symptoms. It is not possible to completely eliminate dust mites at home, but there are some ways to reduce their number.
- Use allergen-proof bed covers
- Wash your bedsheets (pillowcases and blankets) weekly in hot water and hang to dry for at least 15 minutes
- Keep the humidity at home below 50%; switch on the air conditioner or use a dehumidifier if you have to
- Avoid bed sheets that trap dust easily
- Keep stuffed toys off the bed
- Vacuum your house regularly
- Avoid having dust mite habitats like carpets at home
If you are experiencing symptoms and need help finding the right treatment for you, do discuss further with your doctor today!
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