Constant Runny Nose?
Never-ending Nasal Drip?

Dust mite might be the reason!

Are you experiencing blocked and runny nose for more than four days in a week? If yes, you might be suffering from nasal allergy, or also known as allergic rhinitis. It is very common in Hong Kong as there is definitely more than one in two people suffering from it! Allergic conjunctivitis and allergic rhinitis are closely interlinked with each other. Both will be stimulated by allergens, which will cause patients to experience nasal allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and red eyes. When an allergen comes into contact with the eye, it binds to the antigen molecules on the surface of the mast cells. Mast cells are quick to react, releasing a number of chemical messengers, such as histamine, causing eyes to itch and water.

Followed by vision problems, nasal allergy is in fact the second most common chronic disease among children in Hong Kong, children usually develop symptoms at around two or three years of age. When stimulated by allergens, histamine will trigger mucosa swelling, increased secretions, nasal congestion, itching and allergic reactions such as sneezing. If nasal allergy is not treated as soon as possible, there is a chance of sinusitis or otitis media, or might even affect the sense of smell and taste.

Avoiding allergens and sanitising your home is one of the ways to prevent nasal allergies. Nasal irrigation can help wash away the secretions and allergens in the nasal cavity and sinuses, effectively relieving the symptoms. If children have severe nasal allergies, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The medicines prescribed by doctors mainly include antihistamines, nasal decongestants, eg.oral or nasal spray as well as steroid sprays.

Dust mite cover

Dust mite cover is an effective method to reduce patients’ exposure to allergens.

Household dust mites mainly live in places such as mattresses, pillows, sheets, carpets, plush dolls and sofas, hence, using microfiber dust mite covers can help to reduce the exposure of patients to dust mites. The dust mite allergen (dust mite faeces) has a volume diameter of approx. 7 µm (0.007 mm). In other words, the pinhole diameter of the material selected by MITE PROTEX is 5 µm (micron), which can effectively block dust mite allergens.

Another thing to note here is that not all dust mite covers are effective. It is always recommended to purchase anti-mite products that are clinically and scientifically proven. Dust mite beddings are expected to be cleaned once every 4 weeks.

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Queen Mary Hospital's ENT department conducted a skin test study on 977 patients with nasal allergies and concluded that 651 patients (67%) had allergic rhinitis, which include

  • 95% are sensitive to dust mites
  • 23% are sensitive to cockroaches
  • 3% are sensitive to mould, etc.

The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong and the Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine of Queen Mary Hospital have conducted a research on nasal allergies, which showed that exposure towards dust mites were as high as 90% among contact allergens. Dust mites often hide in bedding, mattresses and chemicals, and feed on dead skin.

How do you know if you are allergic to dust mites?

You can perform a "skin prick test" to find out if you have allergic reactions to "dust mites" and "tropical mites". The skin prick test is to locate a small amount of allergen into the surface of the skin. If you are sensitive to the allergen, the test range will show signs of swelling and redness within 15-30 minutes. For desensitisation immunotherapy, sublingual desensitisation immunotherapy can only be carried out after a more comprehensive IgE allergy test, such as after Faber is performed.

Detail of skin prick test($1500) Detail of Faber Test Detail of AILergy Test

Nasal Allergy Treatment

If the allergy persists for a long period of time and seriously affects daily life routine and causes emotional distress, desensitisation treatment can be considered. Desensitisation therapy has been acknowledged by the World Allergy Organisation and is recognized as an effective treatment for allergies. It is categorised into Subcutaneous immunotherapy which involves receiving injections of the allergen, whereas sublingual immunotherapy involves taking drops of the allergen. The whole course of treatment lasts for three years, and the purpose is to train the immune system to gradually adapt to the allergen, thus, stopping the allergic reaction