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If you have allergies, chances are you’re taking medicine. If your allergies are chronic you may be taking them daily. Allergy medications are big business in the U.S. In fact, the allergy medication market is around 15 billion dollars per year….and rising!
In this article I’ll tell you about my experience with allergy medication, the best allergy medication for dust mite allergy, and other ways I get allergy relief. In my opinion, medication shouldn’t be a long term answer for your symptoms. Rather, medication should be used only when dust mite allergies are at their worst.
Dust Mite Allergy Medication: Things to Consider
Anti-histamines (pills, drops and sprays)
Anti-histamines are extremely effective in treating symptoms for allergy. They work by preventing histamine, released by the body during allergic response, from attaching to cells where they can cause inflammation symptoms like rashes, rhinitis, conjunctivitis.
Anti-histamines usually provide 12 to 24 hour relief, then, symptoms begin to return. As such, anti-histamines treat the symptom, not the underlying problem and they keep the customer returning again and again.
Anti-histamines is most commonly found in pill form, where it can be ingested 1-2 times per day. They are also found in nasal sprays and eye drops to relief nose and eye inflammation caused by allergies.
Steroids (often through inhalers and nasal sprays).
Steroids, often found in inhalers, affect small airways in the lungs and provide short-term relief to aid breathing and reduce wheezing. They can also be used in nose sprays that help reduce sinus inflammation.
Long term use of steroid-based nasal and asthma sprays comes with some negative effects. If used regularly, their beneficial effects can be reduced over time and can create dependency.
Most steroid sprays are obtained through prescription from a doctor and there are specific protocol to follow. Although extremely effective to reduce symptoms, patients should be careful to follow doctors instructions and search for other ways to reduce the use of steroids.
Prescription or Over-the-Counter Allergy Medication for Dust Mite Allergy
Anti-histamines and steroids can be prescribed through a doctor or can be purchased over-the-counter at drug stores and online at amazon.com. Obviously the strongest anti-histamines will be prescribed by a doctor.
Currently there are only 2 over-the-counter steroid sprays available to consumers. One of these is called Flonase, which offers 24 hour relief from allergy symptoms such as congestion, inflammation, runny nose, and itchy/watery eyes. I’ve never used it but I’ve found temporary success with Rhinocort and Nasonex.
Anti-histamines are more prevalent and widely-used. If you have allergies, you’ve likely heard of Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. These companies use different drugs to block histamine.
Zyrtec uses cetirizine, Allegra uses fexofenadine, and Claritin uses loratadine. You can also find other generic brands that offer the same pills but I usually stick with the brand names because I think it’s a better quality product.
Natural Supplements to Reduce Histamine from Allergies
If you’re like me, you enjoy searching for natural remedies that will help alleviate your allergies. Sometimes there is conflicting research over whether a natural substance will have significant effects on improving allergies or inflammation. However, there are a few supplements I take that contain discourage histamine and inflammation.
No. 1 Quercetin
Quercetin is a compound found in foods that we eat, especially apples. Quercetin is an antioxidant that can lower histamine and reduce the effects of allergies.
Compared to chemical anti-histamines the effects of quercetin might be minimal, however you can take a daily dose of quercetin just like a multivitamin.
No. 2 Fennel, Watercress, and Parsley
Fennel and watercress have strong histamine inhibitors, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. They are great foods to eat when you’re feeling down and out with allergies.
Parsley has the ability to help repair muscle lining in the stomach and thereby reduce histamine leakage in the gut. While these foods won’t halt the production of histamine, they are certainly worth a try and can be easily added to soups and salads during your worst allergy symptoms.
No. 3 Stinging Nettle, Bromelain, and Vitamin C
These are additional natural anti-histamines and available in supplement form. Vitamin C can be easily ingested with many fruits and vegetables.
Bromelain is found largely in pineapple and helps with respiratory allergies, while stinging nettle is a versatile plant used as food and in traditional medicine. Both bromelain and stinging nettle can be purchased in pills!
No. 4 Fish Oil
Fish oil has been recognized for its anti-inflammatory property for 100’s of years. It’s also a staple in many vitamin cupboards. I take two fish oil pills everyday to help with overall health.
There’s ample research on the benefits of fish oil so I rely on it more than many of the other supplements on this list. If you suffer from inflammation and allergy, consider taking a daily dose of fish oil.
Exercise and Its Impact on Allergy Symptoms
Exercise is tricky for people with allergies. We’ve all heard the advice to stay indoors when allergy counts are high, but what if we have indoor allergies like dust mites? Can we exercise outside or should we wear a mask and exercise indoors?
I grew up an active guy and love exercising. As my allergies have worsened in the past few years, I’ve exercised less and my health has deteriorated more.
We all know that frequent exercise will strengthen the body and its immune system, but I also know that exercise releases mast cells containing loads of histamine. In fact, all kinds of stress on the body can result in a histamine overload.
My main advice for people with dust mite allergy is to take it slow and build up your tolerance to exercise. If you over train you will likely aggravate your allergies making you feel worse. If you exercise indoors, make sure you wear an allergy mask.
You can also adopt new exercise built around your allergies. For example, rather than run a mile try yoga. Or rather than play tennis, try swimming. Experiment to know how your body will react.
What’s the Best Dust Mite Allergy Medicine
The following are the strongest over the counter allergy medicines available. Many of these were once prescription but are now widely available without prescription. Because some of these have small amounts of steroids in them, I would be careful, especially with the nasal sprays.
As told by my doctor, the antihistamines are safe to use everyday and the body should handle them fine, without dose adjustments. There are also a few eye drops listed, however unless your eye allergies are severe I recommend using “natural tears” eye drops that help wash allergens out of the eye.
Best OTC Nasal Sprays for Dust Mite Allergy:
Rhinocort (worked well for me – check price and reviews )
I used nose sprays and had good results in reducing swelling. For a few hours the spray opened my sinuses allowing me to breath. Unfortunately, the stuffiness returned and I’d use the spray over and over again. Using steroid-based sprays really scared me and I discontinued their use.
Best OTC Anti-Histamines for Dust Mite Allergy:
Allegra (I use it everyday and recommend)
To this day I still use anti-histamines. Since I was diagnosed with dust mite allergy in 2013, Allegra has always been within reach. I take one pill daily, and although I don’t like the idea of taking a medicine for “years”, it has helped.
It’s over the counter, so at least it isn’t a hard-core drug. Another positive thing about anti-histamines is that you don’t need to adjust your dose over time. One pill will have the same effect the 1st year as it will the 5th year.
Best OTC Anti-Histamine Eye Drops for Dust Mite Allergy:
Artificial tears (not an antihistamine but a non-chemical way to wash out your eyes of pollen, dust mites, mold, and dander. I use this everyday)
The Best Non Drowsy Medicine for Dust Mite Allergy
For the best non drowsy pills I have to go with the Allegra 180mg 24 hour pills. This is my go-to allergy pill and I’d say they are the best allergy pills for my needs. I was recommended this medicine from my allergist and he also stated that Zyrtec is better for taking at night for itching.
Because I have less night-time itching, I don’t currently take Zyrtec but it may be an option if your main symptom is itching. Just remember, Zyrtec may make you a bit sleepy.
…But Allergy Medicine Isn’t Always the Best Option
The main reason why dust mite allergy medication best or the long term is because chemical medications never address the underlying issue. They’re also a money sink. A package of anti-histamines might not seem like a big cost, but think about their use over 10-20 years.
And using anti-histamines over a long period of time won’t solve the issue. If you never know the reason why you’re getting allergies, then its impossible to solve the problem. Remember, first things first: find out what you’re allergic to and get tested by a allergist/immunologist.
Unknown to many people, there are other options besides medication for people with allergies. Below we’ll discuss some options you might not have considered.
Natural Dust Mite Allergy Treatment
Avoidance is not an option for someone who is allergic to many things, however, if you are allergic to indoor allergens, like dust mites, there are a number of proactive things you can do to reduce your dependence on medicine.
Get Dust Mite Proof Covers for Your Bed
Beds are the number 1 home to dust mites. Covering your bed can yield significant reductions in allergy symptoms. Covering your bed includes: mattress, pillow, and blankets.
Quality dust mite covers are made from cotton and/or microfiber and won’t even be noticeable when you sleep. Cheap covers will be made from polyurethane and might make you sweat. The best brands are Mission Allergy, Allersoft, and BedCare.
Not only should you use covers, but also wash your bedding regularly (1x per week) using essential oils. Essential oils are especially useful in killing dust mites – better yet, they are 100% natural.
Simply add a few drops to your laundry detergent when you put it in the washer and your clothes and bed sheets will be free of dust mites and larvae. Essential oils even smell good!
If you prefer to not use essential oils, make sure the water temperature is 130 degrees F.
Replace HVAC filters with High-Quality Allergen Filters
Most people simply buy the cheapest filters and end up forgetting when to change them. Filtrete makes the cheap and high quality filters for those of you with dust mite and pollen allergy. Using these filters will catch all micro-allergens, and certain filters also capture smoke and odors.
Related: Best Furnace Filters For Allergies
If you have severe dust mite allergy, pair your HVAC filter with a HEPA air purifier that can clean air in your room as you sleep. There are a few awesome HEPA purifiers that have lifetime warranties (check out the best air purifier reviews).
Vacuum with a HEPA Filter
Investing in a good allergen vacuum is also important. Have you ever found yourself sneezing or coughing after vacuuming? Cheap vacuums only pick up larger particulates and end up blowing dust around the house.
This always happened to me growing up and I was confused…shouldn’t I feel better after vacuuming? HEPA vacuums actually filter the air, ensuring all dust is captured. They are much better quality vacuums.
Make a DIY Dust Mite Spray
This isn’t the most effective treatment, but can kill superficial dust mites on your couch, bed, and pillow, while also adding freshness to the house.
I feel better when I make my own dust mite spray with essential oils and I know that I’m not using potentially hazardous chemicals in my room. Check out our blog post on DIY dust mite spray!
Allergy Shots for Dust Mite Allergy
Allergy shots have been around for a century, yet few people who have allergies know about them. Allergy shots should not be confused with “cortisone shots” which use steroids to temporarily reduce inflammation. Allergy shots are injections that contain all of the individual’s allergies.
Let’s say someone is allergic to weeds, grasses, and dust mites. The allergist will order a custom mix of extract that includes those allergens and shots will be given weekly, then monthly with gradual dose increases.
The aim of allergy shots is to slowly build up a tolerance to the allergies. After consistently receiving injections, the individual’s body realizes the pollens/dust mites aren’t harmful and stops reacting. Allergy shots are the closest thing to a cure for allergies.
Important to note, it’s a long-term investment and not cheap so good health insurance helps! But if you’re really struggling to get through the day, allergy shots are more than worth the sacrifice.
I’ve been on allergy shots for 4 years and have benefited tremendously. In my opinion, I’ve improved by about 60%.
Allergy Drops for Dust Mite Allergy
A similar treatment for allergies is allergy drops. They use the same concept as allergy shots, but drops are placed under the tongue on a daily basis. Allergy drops are becoming more popular with allergists in the U.S. however unlike Europe where they are mainstream, U.S. regulators have yet to approve them.
As a result, they are rarely covered by health insurances, but if you’re willing to pay, many allergists will approve the treatment. I’ve also used allergy drops and found benefit with improving my allergies.
Generally, allergy shots are preferred by doctors because there is more research and seem to provide better results. There are a number of pharmaceutical companies on the verge of getting allergy tablets and drops approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Dust mite allergy medication is sometimes necessary to get past an allergy episode. When considering which medication you will take, think about your symptoms. Are you sneezing, eyes watering, rashes, fatigue? Based on your needs you can choose the best allergy medication for dust mite allergies.
In my case, Allegra was the best allergy pill, but other people will likely want to try a few over-the-counter medications to discover the best relief for them.
In addition to allergy medicine, think about natural supplements that can reduce inflammation and halt the production of histamine. Some vegetables and fruits contain quercetin, bromelain, and vitamin C that can make allergic individuals feel better, however, their benefits for allergy relief might be minimal.
Once you’ve settled on medicine, also consider other natural ways to decrease your exposure to dust mites. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to cover your mattress and pillows. I covered both and I sleep much better than I did before. The investment was small compared to the improved quality of life.
We hope you enjoyed this article on “Why allergy medication isn’t a long-term answer”. We have many more articles, products, and recommendations on our website. Thanks for stopping but and be sure to visit us again at Dust Mite Solutions!
Note: I am not a doctor and do not recommend acting on the above information without first consulting with your doctor. Before I began using antihistamines and nasal sprays I spoke with my doctor about the risks and side effects. I chose not to continue using nasal sprays for this very reason. Some of the medicine mentioned in this article could cause you side effects so make sure to consult a professional.