In recent years, there have been more and more discussions about allergies, especially in children. With the increase of urbanization and the living standards of people, an increase in allergic diseases is being observed, as well as the emergence of new allergens – most likely associated with the increased use of aggressive chemicals for better hygiene, the use of various artificial additives in food and beverages, air pollution and many other factors.
Allergy is an atypical response of the human immune system to a certain foreign substance (allergen) in the environment, which is generally not harmful to the body. The immune system, for reasons unclear to medicine, perceives it as a saboteur and seeks to protect the proper functioning of the body. To do this, it produces proteins called antibodies, which trigger a different immune response – an allergic reaction – in order to remove the irritant.
Allergic reactions can take the form of:
- Contact dermatitis
- Sore throat
- Inflammation of the eye
- Difficulty breathing and others
One of the most common allergies in existence is the one to dust mites.
Dust mites are miniature arachnids which are invisible to the naked eye. They are very common worldwide in human habitats and live on pillows, mattresses, curtains, upholstered furniture, plush toys, bed linen, dust-covered surfaces. The most favorable conditions for their development and reproduction are temperatures above 25°C, humidity around and above 75% and food. Their main food source is exfoliated skin. The average adult excretes an average of 1.5 g of dead skin cells each day, which is food for approximately 1 million mites. The metabolic products released in their life cycle (excrement) contain a digestive enzyme (protein) called DerP1 – the main cause of allergies to house dust. A person inhales a large amount of household dust every day, and with it the excrement of mites. The Der P1 protein contained in the excrement binds to the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract and affects the respiratory system, reaches the immune cells and causes a reaction and inflammatory processes.
Common symptoms of dust mite allergy include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Stuffy nose
- Itching in the nose, mouth or throat
- Skin irritations
- Postnasal drip
If your dust mite allergy triggers asthma, you may also experience:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Sound or whistling upon exhalation
- Sleep problems caused by shortness of breath, cough or wheezing