Forget About Vampires and Zombies. This Is Scary.

Do you know what is in your bed?
Do you know what is in your bed?

I admit it. I love a good horror movie; don’t you? I’m talking real horror, not slasher style guts and gore but real terror invoking, edge of your seat horror. The kind of horror that made you break into a sweat as you read ‘Salems Lot or Cujo. The Legend of Hill House is a great haunted house story that has withstood the test of time. But you’ve got some pretty scary things in your house and in your bed right now. And you sleep with these terrors every night!

Learn more if you dare

New Hope for People with Dust Mite Allergy

Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have just announced that they can now differentiate between the proteins that cause dust mite allergy and the proteins from dust mites that do not cause allergies.

What this means for people with dust mite allergy is that new, more effective medications and therapies can now be developed.  Read more about the study here.

scientists study dust mite allergy

Proteins at the Heart of Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mite allergy happens when the immune system doesn’t correctly identify proteins from dust mites.  Researchers have known this for many years.

Strategies for dust mite allergy control have centered around these proteins.  The theory being if you can avoid the protein you can avoid the reaction.

In addition, denaturing agents have been recommended to restructure or neutralize these proteins.   Sprays like ADMS and powders like X-Mite contains agents that break the proteins down.

What was not understood was the difference between different types of dust mite proteins.

Allergen versus Non-Allergen

“Allergy researchers have pondered what distinguishes an allergen from a non-allergen for years,” said NIEHS Staff Scientist Geoffrey Mueller, Ph.D., corresponding author of the paper.

House dust mites produce the most common household allergens 8547358930_a5fcea8434_q_toys-1and cause misery to people of all ages.   Dust mites produce several types of proteins but not all of they proteins they produce cause allergic reactions.

Researchers took two approaches, first compare the amount of proteins and types of proteins being made and secondly to understand the differences in the proteins.

They discovered that there are major differences between the proteins that cause dust mite allergy and the dust mite proteins that do not cause allergies.

It turns out that the proteins causing allergy are more stable and more abundant.  Because they are more stable, they survive transfer from the source to the allergic person.  Unlike some pollen proteins  that break down will floating in the air,  dust mite allergens hold together.

Researchers also discovered that there are more dust mite allergy causing proteins produced by dust mites than previously thought.

Practical Implications

The better researchers understand the dust mite allergy causing proteins, the more effective therapies and medications they can develop.

Understanding the stability of the dust mite allergy-causing protein leads to understanding how the immune system handles these proteins.

“Dust mite allergy is a risk factor for asthma, which is a disease of enormous public health importance in the U.S. and abroad,” said NIEHS Scientific Director Darryl Zeldin, M.D. “Studies such as this one, which enhance our understanding of the characteristics and biology of dust mite allergens, have significant potential to lead to development of new approaches that treat this condition.”

That’s good news for people with dust mite allergy and allergy-induced asthma.

Until then, keep washing with De-Mite.




5 Ways to Avoid Bed Bugs

You can run, but they will hide is the latest bed bug article over at The Allergy Store.  It has some great tips on avoiding bed bugs. Here’s a few.

The Greatest Risk

Turns out that bed bugs in movie theaters and department stores may get screaming headlines but that is because those aren’t common places to find bed bugs.

You are at the greatest risk of picking up bed bugs when you travel.

Bed Bugs and Travel

Tip #1 Opicture of bed bugsf course you think of bed bugs in the bed of a hotel room, but turns out they can hide other places in the room as well.  You should check the bed before you even bring your bags into the room and only after the bed is deemed “clear”.

Tip #2  Keep your suitcases out of the trunk of a rental car.  Turns out that bedbugs can be picked up on luggage in airplanes and hotel rooms and then hop off in the trunk of the car.  They just wait for the next bag to come along and grab another ride.

Tip #3  Buy hardside luggage if you travel by air often.  This style of suitcase is less likely to pick up bed bugs in the belly of the plane or during luggage transfer.

At Home Protection

cover for bed bugsTip #4  When you come home, never bring the suitcases inside until they have been unpacked and inspected.  Luggage should be stored in the garage, carport, or balcony until it can be inspected thoroughly.  Only after you go through the clothing carefully should you bring it in to wash.

Tip #5 To protect the bed just in case one of the little buggers slips your defenses, use an extra layer of protection with a bed bug cover for your mattress.  Zippered bed bug covers are not expensive and won’t change the feel of your bed.  They will keep bugs from getting into your mattress.  You can see if bed bugs are trying to crawl on your furniture by deploying Bed Bug Defenders under the legs.  This is a cheap way to trap bed bugs before they can cause a problem.