That might be allergies, not a cold – and dust mites could be the cause

January 14, 2016

It’s cold and flu season, but if you have the sniffles, it might not be a winter cold at all. It could be allergies.

If the discomfort is localized to nasal passages and throat, there aren’t aches and fatigue, and drainage is watery and clear, allergies are probably the cause, according to Dr. Mary Ann Michelis, chief of allergy and immunology for internal medicine and pediatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The indoor allergen to blame may just be dust mites.

“It’s not dust,” said Michelis. “Dust is an incredible group of materials, but the thing that sensitizes susceptible individuals is the dust mite, which is a microscopic insect that occupies dust.

“You don’t see dust mites, whereas bed bugs look like little poppy seeds. [Dust mites] are microscopic. They live off of human skin, so they love anything like bedding, pillows, upholstered chairs, rugs, things where they’re going to find a lot of human skin.”

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