Dustmites as a trigger?

My son has had a cough when he gets into bed for 10 months now and is increasingly needing his blue inhaler after exercise.

To cut a very long story short he had a skin prick test last week which showed no airbourne allergies which was a surprise to us.

My question is: Can dust mites trigger an asthma cough even if you are not allergic to them? I wanted to know before I spend a small fortune on ripping his carpet out, new allergy bedding and new hoover etc.

Many Thanks.

36 Replies

  • I don't know the answer to your question, but my son had a nighttime cough and used montelukast for a while which seemed to settle the cough, he doesn't have asthma though.

  • How long was it before the tablets settled the cough? My son has just had his 5th tablet :D

  • Might have taken a week or more, was a while ago now. Good luck

  • Hi there, the allergic potential of dust mite faeces is very high but I guess you need asthma-specific testing/advice on that, however if you can notice a connection with your son's symptoms and fabrics then I would think dust mites are most likely. There can be VAT exemptions on some items that are designed to help disabilities, I think hypo-allergenic mattresses for asthmatics qualify.

    I like HEPA air purifiers myself, in addition to other precautions such as high temp laundry cycles. I think there are hypo-allergenic mattress covers/protectors and pillows of course - a cheaper first option to going whole hog if unsure.

    Before you remove any carpets please be sure to consider that the dusts that will be stirred into the air will take a long time (days or weeks) to clear, this is because the very tiny particles and fibres that are the most numerous and dangerous float like they're on water and take so long to settle. Also, new carpeting will leave a ton of irritating fibres and particles in the air too.

    cheers, Ollie.

  • Good reply Ollie. Aren't blinds and wooden floors better for asthmatics because they don't collect dust?

    He could also try cutting down on dairy and drink more water (not tea, coffee or alcohol etc. This is because dairy makes mucus thicker. x

  • Thanks! And your mention of blinds has reminded me of the tremendous amount of bad particles that can come from living near main roads.

  • Sounds like a bit of a guessing game. Try this and that to see if it makes a difference. I have been thinking about a wooden floor and HEPA hoover though.

  • less soft furnishings would defo help (less places for them to live). You could also try a nasal barrier that traps the mites before they get in your nose. I use sinubalm myself but there are others and it has helped me greatly.

  • I have looked at these but would Vaseline do the same job?

  • Hi

    I tested negative for dust mite during the skin prick test at hospital but I use the dustmite covers etc and an air purifier and my asthma has got better. I know that for me certain types of dust make me worse for example paper dust at work and dust from soil so maybe it's not the dust mite but the dust it's self!! Do you know anyone that has a Hepa hoover you could borrow and wash all the bedding etc at high temperatures, teddy bears in the freezer etc to see if makes a difference for a few days then you will know before you spend out on things!

    Good luck

  • I don't know anyone with a HEPA hoover but mine is very old so I am inline for a new one :D

  • As your son has a blue inhaler, it would seem he has some recognised breathing issues. How old is he? Drs are increasingly reluctant to give labels to the very young nowadays, so he may be diagnosed with asthma later - or perhaps not at all. I see your problem.

    I wouldn't go ripping out everything. An air purifier might help, but a monastic cell really won't. I expect your usual cleaning routines are fine, he has artificial fillings for pillows and duvet and you wash the pillows from time to time. Try getting him to sleep more upright - you can make a kind of armchair with pillows, and one under his knees, and see if that eases the cough. He'll slither down as the night goes on, but that is ok. Worked for me as a child. I keep a window open at night as well.

    Get him to take the blue inhaler before exercise, even if he feels absolutely fine. That is quite usual now. Check his inhaler technique. There are demos on Youtube. You could even try getting him to take it before he gets into bed and see if that helps. It is all trial and error, I'm afraid.

    Good luck!

  • He was given the blue inhaler for this cough when he gets into bed. The nurse thought the cough was leftover from a virus but 10 months later and he still has the cough. He has no wheeze or trouble breathing. He uses his blue inhaler when he gets chest pain which is when he really exerts himself in his sports. He has started using the blue inhaler before his sports as of this week but still needed it after his cross country race which I thought wouldn't happen as he had it before.

    I will check his technique though.

  • I was tested for allergies because of my asthma and was allergic to nothing but dust mites which is apparently really common. Sorry this doesn't answer your question. My asthma was also affected by my bedroom, so I swapped rooms into one which is south facing; I now cough and wheeze less. All of my bedding is now allergy stuff and I'm not sure whether it has much effect but it isn't a too expensive option. Also, wash and freeze all cuddly toys.

  • You might also consider double checking the negative skin results with an IgE blood test. Ask for the specific tests...as there is more than one type of dust mite (Der p. 1, 2, 10 etc). Your allergist will understand. You could also try out an "Airsonett" in the bedroom which removes all airborne allergens from the breathing area ....sounds fanciful but its basically a laminar flow device.

    Good luck.

  • The asthma nurse did ask if we'd had any blood tests done and never said anymore about it. He is better on his antihistamine so I am sure it's some sort of allergy it's just tracking down what it is.

  • Did he have a full allegy test as dust is only one of them. I think I was tested for about 14

  • He had dust mites, various pollens/mould spores, brick mould. We have no pets and no one smokes s that ruled those out.

  • The other thing is to immediately change food away from any processed food burfers chips nuggets to home made food fish chicken meat from butcher or fishmonger.

  • He has all home cooked food. My eldest son is Coeliac so I do ALL the cooking :D He is off dairy too as he has an intolerance to that. It's fun in our house lol!

  • Thanks for the advice. This sounds interesting I will look into it.

  • Remember when you wash bedding etc you need to wash at 90 degrees to kill house mites Do you have a pet in your house by any chance ? .... could be a problem Best Marilyn

  • No we don't have any pets here.

  • But yes I will boil wash his covers :D

  • I remember when I was a kid we where tidying out the cupboard under the stairs and there was dust flying everywhere and all of a sudden Ithe felt like someone had thumped Me with a truck square in the chest knocked me off me feet and took me by surprise.. so yes I would aye dust can definitely be a trigger

  • Thanks for the input. It sounds like I need to invest in a new hoover and bedding covers etc.....

  • I'm actually undergoing allergy testing at the minute because my total ige is pretty high (nearly 3 times what would be aceptable) but due to an NHS mess up someone didn't ask for a sub set of tests so my gp has to redo the total ige test and requested airborne allergies and if possible a few foods (strawberrys and peanuts)

  • So they can just do a blood test on a whole load of allergens? Surely that would have been a better idea rather than this skin prick test and just testing 6 random possibles {rolls eyes}

  • Yes I will let you know what they find (and if I can sneak a peek of what there testing for)

    But yes from what I understand of it they take a sample of blood and your body creates different attacking histamine cells for different allergens and these are present if you are reacting to something... which kind of makes sense

    I think I'm allergic to:

    Pollen (I can narrow it down to a tree pollen)

    Airbborne Outdoor mould (possibly)

    Dust (most definately)

    And possibly more but the blood testing will tell

  • I looked at your post again. Sadly as there is carpet in your sons room that I would change immediately to wood flooring. Especially for hoovering and dead skin cells etc ... carpets are a big no no.

  • Carpets are so yesterday

  • lol! Sooo 1980's! but nice and warm in winter :D

  • Yes I think this is the next job along with getting some blinds and bedding sorted. The trouble is now he is on Montelukast we won't know if it's the tablets working or the changes that have helped. lol! It's all such all such guessing game.

  • I am montelukast but it takes time for body to adjust to long term. His asthma must be quite severe. In that case get rid of carpet. I am sorry it's got to be a complete sterile room for sleepING. No carpets

  • That's ok I will do or spend ANYTHING to get rid of this cough!

    I may be being negative but I just don't think they will work for him. I think he needs a 3 day course of steroids to clear the inflammation first. This is after speaking to a nurse at asthma UK but we will see.....

  • Interestingl a few months ago I fell asleep on the floor and we hoover up quite regularly (hepa filter hoover)... however when I woke up my eyes where bright red and my skin was itching (I did this same thing a few times with the same result) so there must be dust left over In the carpet after hoovering causing anot unpleasant reaction in extreme proximity (falling asleep on the floor)

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