No one is allergic to dust: the real enemies are called mites

Dust is one of the main sources of allergens in homes. A set of practically invisible particles that float through the air. Some of living origin (scales of human skin, fungi …) and others of inert character (tissue fibers, sand …). In this ecosystem, the known mites live and feed, which, in turn, shed particles (depositions) in the dust of the environment.

Thus, contrary to popular belief, these mites and their remains are those that produce allergic reactions and not dust in general. Therefore, we will talk about allergy to mites, not dust. The Dr. Pilar Cots, allergologist of the Ruber Juan Bravo Hospital Complex, helps us to better understand this pathology and to banish some myths that exist about it.

Mites: what they are and what their symptoms are

Mites are insects belonging to the family of spiders These animals of microscopic size are frequent cause of allergy and symptoms of asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis and also atopic dermatitis. They prefer dark places with humidity, which is why they tend to be more abundant in coastal areas.

"Mites do not penetrate the human body, but they shed microscopic particles that float in the air and, when inhaled or come in contact with the mucous membranes, produce the symptoms in the eyes, nose, lungs and skin of allergy sufferers, "explains Dr. Cots. Sneezing, itchy or runny nose are the most common symptoms. If we suffer from any of them while we are in areas where there is dust or while we clean, it is likely that we have allergies to dust mites.

If we suffer sneezing, itching or watering while we are in dusty areas, we probably have allergies to mites.

One of the main tips that the allergist gives us to fight them is avoid objects that accumulate dust and that are difficult to clean: carpets, rugs, stuffed animals, books, heavy curtains, upholstered furniture, cushions, wallpaper or excessive ornaments. "When cleaning, we should try Do not raise dust by sweeping or shaking with a rag or duster. It is advisable to use a damp cloth for the furniture, vacuum cleaner (with HEPA or water filter) and mop for the floor, "he says.

These insects accumulate especially in mattresses, pillows, sofas and cushions. The doctor believes that to prevent risks we must keep some distance from mattresses that are springs, as they favor the presence of mites to be hollow inside. "To keep them clean and not suffer or minimize the symptoms of allergy, it's best to sanitize them with a vacuum cleaner and, if possible, ventilate and expose the mattress and pillow to the sun's rays ", explains the specialist.

Also, the air conditioning and heating They help to reduce the amount of mites, although it is advisable to check the filters regularly.

Myths to banish about mites

The specialist gives us a series of notes that summarize what we should know about allergy and its impact on our health, warning about the most common false myths:

  • "Allergy to Mites it is not dangerous"The reality is that this pathology can affect health, leading to some more severe alterations, such as episodes of asthma.

  • "The dust that comes from the street and the one produced in the works also cause allergies to mites. "So that the mites can survive, they can not be exposed to the sun or to dryness (22ºC of temperature and around 70% humidity). Dark, closed and humid sites Mites are in the domestic dust of homes with these conditions, but not in the dust from the outside.

  • "Even if you have an allergy to mites, you can have companion animals at home without problems. "It is preferable not to have hair or pen pets in the house of a dust mite allergic, they feed on human and animal remains, which causes the mite population to be higher the more people and animals inside the house.

  • "Mite allergy predominates in autumn and spring". We always say that these two are the worst seasons, being more humid and rainy; But the truth is that the allergic to mites can be bad at any time of the year if the necessary environmental conditions are met. A rainy winter will probably be worse than a dry autumn.

  • "Environmental prevention standards they avoid allergies to mites. "Studies show that prevention measures can be beneficial for the onset and severity of asthma, but they do not seem to be very useful for delaying or preventing the onset of allergy in a person. previously not allergic.

  • "The allergy to pollen in spring It produces more respiratory problems than mite allergy. "Mites have a greater impact on respiratory problems than pollen, because the pollens appear abroad at certain times of the year, so we breathe them is less than we breathe the dust of the house.

  • "Allergies are not cured". Many people believe that once the allergy appears it is impossible to cure it, but nowadays, allergists have effective treatments to control the symptoms, prevent the evolution and even decrease the sensitization.

The doctor concludes that these keys can be included in one: "In allergic diseases, the faster the diagnosis is reached and the treatment is started, the greater the chances of success and the less the chances of suffering complications ".

* The Confidential, in collaboration with Quirónsalud, presents a series of articles to clarify doubts about myths and popular beliefs related to health and to combat false information that may be generated on the Internet. If you have any questions about the resolved query and want more information, you can contact the Ruber Juan Bravo Hospital.