Don’t Let Dust Allergy Symptoms Slow You Down
Get Dust Allergy Treatment in St. Louis, MO
Learn what causes dust allergies, what dust allergy symptoms are most common, and what you can do to find relief and treatment in St. Louis, MO. Visit board-certified dust allergy specialist Dr. Sonia Cajigal at St. Louis Family Allergy.
“This office was amazing! I am so very impressed. I have never had such a thorough doctor. The office staff was great too. Dr. Cajigal made sure to lay everything out on the table of what could be the cause of my symptoms. She was so helpful.”
– Rachel R, February 2022
What Causes Dust Allergy?
What Causes Dust Allergy?
House dust can contain many different allergens, which is why dust allergies are sometimes more generally referred to as indoor allergies. The most notable offenders are dust mites, mold, pollen, animal dander, and cockroaches. Therefore, if you suspect that you have dust allergy symptoms, you may actually be allergic to one or more of the components found in house dust. We provide a brief overview of the most common dust allergens below, but this list is by no means exhaustive.
Dust Mite Allergy
Mold spores are another common allergen that can be found in dust. Because of their size, mold spores are often indistinguishable from other sources of dust. Indoors, mold can be found in moist places like bathrooms and kitchens. If your home is susceptible to mold growth, your suspected dust allergy might actually be a mold allergy.
Pollen from trees, grasses, flowers, and weeds is often associated with outdoor seasonal allergies, but pollen can also find its way into your home and take up residence in dust. It’s important to pay attention to when you have allergy symptoms. If your allergies flare up in certain seasons, your suspected dust allergy might actually be a pollen allergy.
Dander, saliva, and urine from cats, dogs, and other animals are common allergenic substances that are often found in the household dust of pet owners. If you’re a pet owner, your dust allergy might actually be a pet allergy.
in St. Louis, Missouri
Dust Allergy Symptoms
Dust allergy symptoms usually get worse during or immediately after dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming because these activities ‘stir up’ dust particles, making you more likely to inhale dust. Dust typically takes a couple hours to settle again.
Dust allergies typically cause allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies), and symptoms can persist year-round. Dust allergy symptoms include:
- Red, itchy or teary eyes
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Wheezing, coughing tightness in the chest and shortness of breath
In addition to allergic rhinitis, if you’re allergic to dust mites, dust can also trigger asthma and cause eczema to flare.
Dust Allergy Test
When you see an allergist about potential dust allergies, your visit will begin with a detailed medical history. Your allergist will ask you questions about your work and home environments, your family medical history, and specific situations when you’ve experienced allergic reactions.
After your allergist develops an understanding of your medical history, the next step is typically a dust allergy test in the form of skin testing to determine exactly what you’re allergic to. In the case of a dust allergy complaint, your allergist may test for multiple allergies, including dust mites, mold, pollen, pet dander, etc. depending on your medical history. A skin test involves using a small, sterile needle to prick the skin. The needle coated with an extract of the suspected allergen. If you’re allergic to the substance, the tested area will swell into a small red welt.
Your allergist may also order a blood test if additional confirmation is needed.
in St. Louis, Missouri
Dust Allergy Treatment
As with most allergies, avoidance is the best way to manage dust allergies. Dust allergy treatment often starts with evaluating your environment and taking steps to minimize your dust exposure. Medications can provide immediate dust allergy symptom relief, and allergy shots may be an option for long-term allergy control.
Dust Allergy Prevention
One of the most effective methods of dust allergy prevention is to allergy-proof your home. Ridding your home of dust allergies often involves special considerations when it comes to furnishing your home and managing your appliances. Regular cleaning is also an important part of keeping your home free of dust allergies. We’ve provided some general recommendations below, but everyone’s situation is different. Visit us at St. Louis Family Allergy to get more personalized advice on how to prevent dust allergies.
Remove Dust Allergies From Your Home
- Where possible, install wood flooring rather than carpeting, especially in bedrooms.
- Remove curtains and drapes, especially in bedrooms.
- When you clean, use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Use “mite-proof” cases on your mattresses and pillows.
- Keep a HEPA air cleaner running in your bedroom, and any other high-traffic areas.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom, and preferably out of the house entirely.
- Install a high-efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in the furnace and the air conditioning unit.
- Leave the fan on to create a “whole house” air filter that removes particulates.
- Change media filters at least once every three months to keep the air clean year-round.
- Have your heating and air conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.
- Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home, and do what you can to keep the humidity level below 50 percent. A dehumidifier may be necessary.
- Use a vent fan to remove moisture in bathrooms and kitchen.
- Repair water leaks to help manage moisture.
Clean Your Home Regularly
- If your allergies tend to flair while cleaning, wear an N95 filter mask while dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming.
- Wash all bed linens regularly using hot water.
- Keep all unrefrigerated food covered and dispose of food waste in a tightly sealed garbage can.
- If cockroaches are a known problem, use roach traps and schedule regular visits by a professional pest control service.
Dust Allergy Medications
Dust Allergy Shots
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) work by gradually increasing your tolerance to a given allergen. Allergy shots may be an effective long-term treatment for your dust allergies. Allergy shots are often referred to as a ‘curative therapy’ because they can prevent future allergic reactions and allow you to safely tolerate high levels of dust allergens. Visit us at St. Louis Family Allergy to learn more about this option.
 Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/
Dust Allergy Specialist
Dr. Sonia Cajigal
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