Fong Chun Wai Esther
The Culprit of
Allergic Rhinitis & Asthma
According to statistics, 1 in 4 people in Hong Kong suffers from nasal allergies, and more than 330,000 people have asthma; the symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose and cough, etc., which seriously affect their quality of life. Some patients need to use drugs to control their condition. Both genetic factors and environmental factors cause allergy and asthma. Genetic makeup gives rise to allergic reactions to allergens (such as dust mites, pollen, mold, animal hair, etc.). Environmental factors, such as dense air pollution will also aggravate the symptoms.
Fight the Mites
To control the symptoms, totally avoiding contact with allergens is one of the most effective methods. However, among the allergens, dust mites are the most difficult to avoid. Medical journals have stated that up to 80% of allergy patients are allergic to dust mites. An allergy to dust mites can cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, and even dermatitis. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that are invisible to the naked eye and live on human dead skin cells. The humid weather in Hong Kong is the ideal place for dust mites to thrive and multiply in staggering numbers. Dust mites generally exist in homes, such as pillows, mattresses, quilt covers, curtains, carpets, and fabric sofas, etc. In other words, dust might can to be anywhere. The protein contained in the dust mites' corpses and droppings are the culprits causing allergies. Therefore, eliminating dust mites is a significant task for allergy-prone patients.
On average, we spend a third of the day asleep and exposed to bedding for a long time. We recommended to wash pillowcases, bed-sheets and quilt covers with warm water at 60 degrees Celsius or above at least every week, and dry them with high temperature. It will effectively kill dust mites and remove the dead mites and their excrement. Since pillows, quilts, and mattresses cannot be cleaned frequently, we recommend using mite-proof bedding to block dust mites and their excretion. The items should also be regularly placed in the sun to dry in good weather.
(Allergy patients should avoid upholstered furniture & carpets.)
Creating a hypoallergenic bedroom
In addition to eradicating dust mites, the environment of the bedroom is also essential. Furnishing should be simplified as much as possible to avoid the accumulation of dust. If possible, we suggest using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to maintain the indoor relative humidity below 60%, which helps to reduce the growth of dust mites and mold. If patients with allergies want to clean in person, we suggest using a damp cloth to remove the dust. The use of a vacuum cleaner may cause allergic reactions because it disperses dust which gets inadvertently inhaled. Those with severe nasal allergies or asthma should ask others to clean their homes and leave the house temporarily during cleaning to prevent inhalation of allergens.
Reference: ﾠ香港過敏協會 https://www.allergyhk.org/?page_id=47  香港哮喘會 https://hkasthma.org.hk/hk/about-asthma/哮喘在香港  Chromatography Today https://www.chromatographytoday.com/news/bioanalytical/40/breaking-news/how-to-find-out-which-dust-mite-protein-you39re-allergic-to/39117