Allervision Updates: Useful Tips for Everyday Practice

Allervision Updates is a resource for medical practices that are clients of Allervision, and their patients. My name is Dean Mitchell, and I am a board-certified allergist who joined the Allervision team in September. My background has been in private practice for 21 years, and for most of those two decades I have taught at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and most recently at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York city. My special interest over the past 15 years has been in sublingual allergy immunotherapy. I wrote a book in 2006, Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution (Marlowe) that discusses in detail my experience with using allergy testing and specifically sublingual allergy drops to help patients suffering with airborne allergens and asthma.

House_Dust_Mite

A house dust mite seen under magnification.

Enough about me, I am excited to bring to you the information that you can incorporate into your daily practice when seeing allergy patients.

Today’s Update will cover House Dust Mites. There are many patients who realize that they sneeze, get congested, itch or even wheeze in dusty environments. Lots of individuals think that’s a normal response to dust exposure — but it isn’t. Yes, anyone can have a few sneezes when they wipe up some dust, but allergic patients keep on sneezing for hours. House dust mites are hard to avoid because they thrive on human scales, so the bedroom, and more specifically the bed, is a primary source of dust exposure.

Step 1: Educate your patients who test positive to dust mites to encase their mattress and pillow cases with hypoallergenic plastic covers. (There are several companies they can visit and order from online.) The nice thing about these mattress and pillow cases is that they reduce the dust exposure all night long — and patients will see results within a month.

The problem with dust mites is that they exist in so many places: airplanes are dust mite heaven, with all the upholstered seats; hotels, no matter how swanky, are filled with dust mites. So, for your patients who travel for work and feel like they’re always getting sick on trips, you need to tell them about the benefits of  allergen immunotherapy. They can truly benefit by strengthening their immune system via allergy shots or drops. I highly recommend drops for patients frequently on the road because they are self-administered and safe.

Asthmatic patients are also typically allergic to dust mites. If you find asthmatic patients who test positive for dust mites, you should advise them that a key study has shown that it’s possible to reverse asthma to dust mites by using allergy drops.(G.W. Canonica and G.Passalacqua, Non-injection Routes of Immunotherapy, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 111(2003):437-48.)

Please put your patients at ease when they get defensive and say, ” I have a very clean house and don’t have dust mites.” Assure them that dust mites infest everyone’s home; it’s no reflection on one’s housekeeping skills. What’s most important is that there’s no reason to suffer when prevention and treatment are available and easy.

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