Stinging Insects, Dust Mite & Cockroach Allergies Feature Image

Stinging Insects, Dust Mite & Cockroach Allergies

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.

Insect and Pest Allergy Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Get Rid Of Dust Mites?

It is almost impossible to get rid of all dust mites. However, you can reduce them to ease your symptoms. For example, washing clothes and linens using the hot wash setting will help remove dust mites. Removing carpet also helps get rid of dust mites.

How Can I Avoid Cockroach Exposure?

The following tips may help you avoid cockroaches:

  • Cover all trash cans tightly.
  • Store food in airtight containers. This includes food kept in cabinets and on counters.
  • Clean all dirty dishes.
  • Sweep up any food crumbs from the counters, stove top, tables and floor.
  • Avoid leaving pet food out in a bowl. Clean the bowl regularly, like other dirty dishes.
  • Fix leaky pipes under sinks and in the basement. Cockroaches like damp places.
  • Seal cracks in the walls and floors where cockroaches can enter your home.

How Do You Diagnose An Insect Allergy?

An allergist at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers can diagnose your insect allergy. We use a variety of allergy testing methods to accurately diagnose allergies.

How Do You Treat An Insect Allergy?

Venom immunotherapy can help desensitize you to insect venom. This ensures that any future insect stings will not cause as severe of a reaction.

Is Cockroach Allergy Common?

Cockroach allergies are surprisingly common, and some researchers believe the allergy is increasing in populated cities. One-third of people with other documented allergies are sensitive to cockroaches.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Dust Mite Allergy?

Symptoms of a dust mite allergy include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough

What Insects Cause Anaphylaxis?

Fire ants, bees, wasps, and hornets are most likely to cause anaphylaxis when they bite or sting. It is very important to avoid these insects if you are allergic to them.

What Season Is Dust Mite Allergy The Worst?

Allergen levels are at their highest between May and October, the peak breeding season of house dust mites. Most of the mites die during the winter, but the allergen-containing dust is stirred up by heating systems.

Why Are People Allergic to Cockroaches?

The saliva, feces, and shedding body parts of cockroaches can trigger both asthma and allergies. These allergens act like dust mites, aggravating symptoms when they are kicked up in the air.