In a blog last week, we talked about bedbugs and how they might exacerbate or even trigger your eczema. This week, we’re going to be talking about another pest, this one far more likely to cause you and your eczema children headaches when it comes to flare-ups. These pests are dust mites.
Dust mites are tiny mites that live in dark, damp, warm places like in carpets, blankets, pillows, and other kinds of bedding. Although they have a wide diet (basically any organic debris they can find), their food of choice tends to be shedded skin. So basically, for a dust mite, an eczema sufferer is a feast.
Dust mite allergies are extremely common and one of the major exacerbators of asthma. As there tends to be a lot of crossover between eczema and asthma (Yay, Atopic Triad…), this means your eczema children might be very susceptible. The allergy can cause stuffy nose, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing. If you suffer from eczema, dust mites can also act as a flare-up trigger, as the droppings can easily be a skin irritant.
It isn’t really the dust mite itself that causes an allergy or skin reaction, it’s their droppings. The enzymes that dust mites use to break down their food can act as a major allergen. When someone says that they are allergic to dust, odds are that they are really allergic to dust mite droppings. The droppings are so tiny and light that they can float in the air, so they are very easy to breathe in. As dust mites prefer bedding as their home of choice, this means that many sufferers will be in contact with them for hours on end while they sleep.
What can be done about them? To be honest, not much. They are so tiny that you can’t really see them, so killing them isn’t going to be possible. The best method of controlling the dust mite population is to limit where they can live. Putting a dust mite proof cover over yours or your eczema child’s mattress will keep it safe and clean from mites. You can get similar covers for both pillows and duvets. Make sure you do a hot wash with the sheets once a week (with eczema-safe laundry detergent, of course).
Odds are that, if you have an eczema child, you’re already putting them into an Eczema Rescue Suit overnight for wet wrap therapy. You don’t want dust mites setting up shop in the suit, especially because it’s going to be a fairly moist place between the damp wrap material and an eczema ointment. Although you’re probably already doing a semi-daily wash of the suit, we recommend a daily one. Buying a second Eczema Rescue Suit, or utilizing one of the specific wraps such as Eczema Gloves or Socks, can also cut down on the hassle of having to do a full wash daily.
Dust mites are just a huge pain in the butt, no question about it. The best method of keeping them under control is through constant cleaning and washing. It’s a pain, yes, but it’ll keep your linens, clothes, and eczema child free of the mites, their droppings, and allergies/flare-ups.