Dust Mites What are dust mites? Dust mites are tiny creatures that are related to spiders and ticks. They live in our mattresses and bedding because 1) those places provide a warm and moist environment and 2) they are a good place to find the dust mites’ food source: dead skin flakes. What are dust mite allergies? A person who is having allergic reactions to dust mites is actually having allergic reactions to their feces. Ew. Similar to the pollen grains which cause pollen allergy, these particles become airborne and just happen to be the right size to trigger allergic reactions. To protect yourself and your family from dust mite allergy reactions, you must keep the mites from proliferating. Some tips: Regularly wash your bedding and clothing in hot water to minimize your allergic reaction. Use a mattress encasement as a barrier between yourself and the dust mites that already live in your mattress. This will decrease your exposure to dust mite allergens. Use an air purifier to reduce the dust levels in your home. Cockroaches Unfortunately, cockroaches are a common pest in crowded and urban cities worldwide. Those of us who have allergic reactions to cockroaches are actually reacting to what the roaches have left behind: both droppings and the remnants of their dead bodies. To reduce your allergic reaction to cockroaches, you need to reduce the roach population in your surroundings. You should adapt a lifestyle of strict cleanliness – wash your dishes after every meal, don’t leave food out in an open container, and keep cupboards and floors free of food debris. Your building may also need to employ pest control options such as traps and pesticides. If these actions do not alleviate your allergy symptoms, you can be treated with allergy medications and/or pursue allergy immunotherapy shots to minimize your future allergic reactions. The NYC allergy specialists and our allergy clinic will do allergy tests to identify your cockroach allergy and discuss how allergy shots may improve your allergy symptoms – itchy eyes, red eyes, watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and allergy cough. Stinging Insects Stinging insects – bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets – inject venom into their victims. This venom can cause life-threatening reactions in highly-allergic individuals. In a normal reaction, the sting site will be red, painful, and may itch and swell, but these symptoms will usually last only a couple of hours. In someone who is severely allergic, the person may experience hives, itching, difficulty breathing, and stomach distress, and could feel weak, dizzy, and nauseous. These are signs of a potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. If not treated immediately, anaphylaxis can cause death. Venom immunotherapy is a treatment that desensitizes you to the venom, so that any future insect stings should not cause as severe of a reaction. It is shown to be a very effective treatment for allergy to stinging insects. Patients who might have insect sting allergies should visit an allergist in NYC and consider venom immunotherapy. Summary If you think you are allergic to insects or other pests, the allergists at the NY Allergy & Sinus Centers are here to help. We can provide allergy testing and help you find fast relief. We have five convenient allergy testing centers and see patients from all over the NYC metropolitan area: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Call us today @ 212-686-4448 for more information.