Dust Mites and their Affect on Children with Eczema
Tiny, microscopic insects that reside in your bedroom? Not exactly the nicest thought, but as every single home has them it is important to know what they are and the potential harm they can bring to your child’s eczema.
Dust mites and their droppings are able to trigger and irritate sensitive skin. It is no surprise really, when you think that its favourite food is dust, which is composed of human skin, hair, pollen, mould and fungi to name a few!
It may be quite a taboo subject, but dust mites can be a major issue for youngsters with skin issues, such as eczema, psoriasis or general allergenic skin.
Dust Mite- the facts!
Dust mites thrive in humid conditions, meaning populations increase in seasons of high household humidity. In fact, a typical home contains millions of them, even statistics suggesting that up to 100,000 can live in just one square yard of carpet and as many as 3000 in just one gram of dust! It is a never-ending population cycle for mites, with females laying up to 80 eggs in their lifetime. Horrible but true.
Children and Dust Mite allergies
Statistics suggest that 20% of the general population is allergic to dust mites, meaning there is a fair chance your child may very well be. If so, then dust mites can cause a whole host of problems to their skin, either triggering eczema or severely irritating any existing affected areas.
It certainly doesn’t help that while dust mites do not live directly on the skin, they do live in mattresses, carpets and other soft furniture, putting them in very close proximity to your child’s skin. Allergies can be confirmed in children through medical skin testing, so if you suspect your child’s eczema may be triggered or worsened by dust mites then it may be worth considering.
If the skin shows a raised weal outlined with redness in the skin test then this tends to indicate a dust mite allergy, and the larger the weal then the greater the allergy is.
It’s not all doom and gloom…
It is unfortunately impossible to completely clear your home of dust mites, and is even extremely hard work to reduce the number of them. Nevertheless, there are precautions that can be taken around the home:
- Thoroughly clean your home on a regular basis by doing intensive, frequent vacuuming and dusting all furniture using sprays and damp cloths.
- Wash clothes and bedding regularly on a hot wash of at least 60 degrees.
- Dust-tight covers can be purchased for mattresses, duvets and pillows that last several months and require cleaning once a fortnight.
- Do not use any decorations that are likely to trap dust easy, such as dried flowers.
- If possible and necessary, remove carpets from the bedroom and avoid using soft furnishing in there.
- Reduce any indoor air pollution such as smoking or car fumes.
- Ventilation is also important and keeping the humidity of the room low may help – for example, placing an electric blanket on the mattress decreases the humidity and therefore reduces the number of mites.
- Other simple changes can be made, such as swapping synthetic pillows for feather pillows and keeping soft toys to a minimum.
Although these precautions can be made around the home, there are also steps to protect your child’s skin directly. Natural products can be used to work as a shield from the dust mites and protect the skin from allergies. Find products that not only soothe but also deeply cleanse, de-toxify and boost the skin’s own immune system. Make sure to avoid any steroid, chemically based products as it could make the skin even more vulnerable.
But don’t jump to conclusions just yet
Although many suggest there is a causal link between eczema and dust mites, it is important to remember that dust mites may just be one contributing factor to your child’s eczema, and it is highly likely there are a variety of other possible triggers that exacerbate the problem.
Related Information for Causes of Eczema in Children
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