To manage a dust allergy, it's best to avoid the things most likely to cause an allergic reaction. Here are some simple steps to reduce exposure to indoor dust:
If you think you may have an allergy to any of the components of house dust, see an allergist. To pinpoint the cause of your symptoms, the allergist will ask detailed questions about your work and home environments, family medical history, frequency and severity of symptoms and exposure to pets and other possible triggers.
Sometimes the medical interview will reveal a likely culprit—for instance, a girl who gets a stuffy nose every time she plays with a friend's cat might have an allergy to cats or to the dust infused with cat hair in her friend's house.
Often an allergist will need to conduct a skin test to determine exactly what is triggering an allergic reaction.
Skin tests involve using a small, sterile probe to prick the skin with extracts from common allergens, such as tree pollen and pet dander, and observing the reaction. A positive reaction (a raised welt with redness around it) may indicate that you are allergic to that substance. Occasionally, your allergist may order a blood test and a skin test to confirm an allergy.
After a dust allergy is identified, your allergist will recommend one or more of the following treatments:
If your efforts to reduce exposure to indoor dust don’t provide adequate relief, your allergist may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter medication. Decongestants and antihistamines are the most common allergy medications. They help to reduce a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Other medications work by preventing the release of the chemicals that cause allergic reactions. Corticosteroid sprays are effective in treating inflammation in your nose. Allergy shots (immunotherapy) work by gradually increasing a person's tolerance to allergy triggers.
An allergist will work with you to determine which medications are best for you and how often and how much of them you should take.
Content was based on American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology