If you have symptoms of allergic rhinitis or asthma, you may be suffering from an allergy to dust mites, microscopic animals that proliferate in homes.

What is a mite?

THE mites are not visible to the naked eye, because they are too small. And for good reason, a mite only measures between a quarter and a third of a millimeter. If you look at a mite with a microscope, you will see a small white insect with eight legs.

These little creatures proliferate in warm (20/25°C) and humid (70 to 80% humidity) places. There are no less than 13 species of mites. All are adapted to the environment of our homes.

Mites feed on skin scales that we shed daily. These scales are found in our bedding, our rugs, our sheets and other fabric objects (sofa, armchairs, etc.). An adult loses on average 1.5 g of dead skin every day. Which is enough to feed a million mites!

The presence of dust mites in a house does not indicate a lack of hygiene or cleanliness. The mite is an essential component of household dust.

What is a dust mite allergy?

The mite contains allergenic substances, that is to say capable of triggering an allergic reaction in certain people.

The main allergen in the mite is mainly present in its feces, but the arachnid body also contains allergens. Most mites die when humidity levels drop or very low temperatures. But they leave their droppings behind.

Dead mites and their droppings can continue to cause allergic reactions. In warm, humid environments, mites can live up to a year.

The main symptoms of dust mite allergy are:

  • sneezing;
  • runny nose ;
  • red eyes, tearing;
  • stuffy nose ;
  • tingling in the nose, throat and/or mouth;
  • itchy skin;
  • a discharge of mucus in the throat;
  • a cough.

In some people allergic to dust mites, a asthma may trigger: difficulty breathing, wheezing, severe coughing or even a feeling of chest tightness.

Annabelle Iglesias

Journalist

May 13, 2024, at 4:54 p.m.

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