An allergy to dust mites can be devastating, affecting every aspect of your life. For some, the symptoms are mild and can be easily controlled, but others suffer from severe allergic symptoms that can include asthma and eczema.The primary problem for people who are allergic to dust mites is that dust mite infestations are so widespread. Most people have dust mites in their homes and do not even realize it simply because no one living there is allergic. Someone who is sensitive to dust mite allergens need only be present for a few minutes up to a few hours before symptoms become noticeable and detrimental. This means that, for many people, it is not enough to simply eradicate and prevent dust mites in their own homes because an allergic reaction can still take place in the homes or offices of others.
Some of the most effective treatments for dust mite allergies are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. These remedies are effective because they can be taken at a moment’s notice, and most of them act relatively quickly. Other, long-term treatments may also be required in the home besides the usual treatments for dust mites. Often, even if dust mites have been effectively treated, allergens remain and reinfestation can occur at any time.
OTC Drugs for Dust Mite Allergies
Several over-the counter drug treatments are available to provide relief from the symptoms of drug allergies, including antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids. Many people use a combination of these drugs for maximum relief.
Antihistamines are very effective at relieving allergy symptoms because they block the immune system response that triggers the symptoms. When the fecal matter and stray body parts of dust mites are inhaled or make contact with the exposed skin of someone who is allergic, their immune system responds by creating chemicals called histamines. Histamines trigger the body to defend itself against a threat, and it is this response that produces symptoms. An antihistamine reduces or blocks the histamines from generating symptoms. Commonly used OTC antihistamines include the following:
- Claritin (loratadine)
- Zyrtec (cetirizine)
- Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- Dimetapp (brompheniramine)
OTC decongestants help to reduce cold-like symptoms such as running nose, stuffy nose and sneezing by reducing the inflammation of the sinuses. This allows you to breathe more easily and for fluids to drain from the nasal passages. Many OTC drugs for allergies are actually a combination of an antihistamine and a decongestant. Decongestants are available as tablets and as a nasal spray. They are safe and effective when used according to the label, but they are not recommended for people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or enlarged prostate.
The final type of OTC drug used for the treatment of dust mite allergies is a corticosteroid. Many corticosteroids are available without a prescription, and they work by decreasing inflammation. Topical corticosteroids come as a cream or ointment for topical or intranasal use. Corticosteroids taken orally require a prescription.