Dust mites are microscopic arachnids that feed on dead skin cells, animal dander and other particles that are found in dust. No matter how clean your home is, you’ll have dust mites. Many people are allergic to the enzymes in dust mites’ waste and decaying bodies. Fortunately, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT), more commonly known as allergy drops, has been shown to help relieve symptoms.
What Is Sublingual Immunotherapy?
SLIT works by exposing your immune system to small amounts of allergen extracts in order to help you build up a tolerance. There are two forms of SLIT, drops or tablets, which are placed under the tongue and held until they’re dissolved. This is done multiple days a week or every day, depending on what you’re prescribed.
What the Research Shows
One study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunotherapy: In Practice in 2022, sought to investigate the efficacy of SLIT in patients with atopic dermatitis whose symptoms were triggered by house dust mites.
Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, causes inflammation, itching, rashes and bumps on the skin, usually in the knee and elbow bends. Dust mites are just one of many triggers for atopic dermatitis, a condition that is also associated with asthma and rhinitis.
There were 91 patients ages three and up who participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. One group was given the allergy drops while the other group received placebo drops for a total of 18 months.
After 18 months of treatment, the group that received the allergy drops experienced lessened symptoms. Side effects were rare and mild, consisting mostly of short-lived local reactions.
According to the study authors, the results were statistically significant, indicating that SLIT is an effective add-on treatment for people with atopic dermatitis who flare up with exposure to dust mites.
Other Ways to Manage Dust Mite Allergies
In addition to receiving allergy drops, you can manage allergies to dust mites by:
- Washing your bedding weekly in hot water at Super Kleen Laundromat.
- Investing in allergy-proof covers for mattresses, duvets and pillows.
- Using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
- Wiping down surfaces with a clean, damp cloth regularly rather than dry dusting.
- Cleaning upholstered cushions and curtains regularly.
- Fitting roller blinds that can easily be cleaned.
- Selecting wood or vinyl flooring rather than carpeting.
- Installing a portable HEPA filter.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call North Alabama ENT Associates today.