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  • Writer's pictureNatural Skin By Lynne

Can Dust Mites Cause Eczema?

Updated: Apr 26, 2023


Eczema is a common inflammatory skin disease that develops due to a complex interplay between a person’s genetics and environment. Not all people with eczema have an allergy to dust mites, but dust mites can be a common trigger.


Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause patches of skin to become itchy, discolored, and swollen.


Several environmental factors can trigger eczema, including live dust mites, their remains, and their droppings.


Here, we look at whether dust mites cause eczema. We will also look at where dust mites live, the risks of having them in the home, and how to minimize them.






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What are Dust Mites?


Dust mites are microscopic insect-like creatures that live in house dust and household items such as furniture and bedding. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells, fungi, Yeasts & bacteria - Most households contain some species of dust mites.


Dust mites thrive in warm, moist environments, ideally those with around 70% humidity, and typically live on items that dead skin cells collect on, such as:


bedding

furniture that contains fabric

curtains

carpets or rugs

mattresses

pillows

cloths

toys with fabric




Do They Cause Eczema?



No - Dust mites do not attach to the skin, or pierce it. Their droppings may trigger eczema, but only in people prone to eczema.


People can have an allergic reaction to numerous mite allergens.


Many people experience a reaction to dust mites when their skin comes into contact with a dust mite allergen. These allergens destroy tight junctions and deteriorate the skin barrier function. As they are so tiny, dust mites can also be inhaled. Many people inhale dust mite allergens, which can cause an immune response and inflammation or irritation in the nose, throat, or lungs.


Skin barrier damage from dust mites’ allergens can reach lower levels of cells that can spark an immune cascade, resulting in inflammation that can trigger or worsen eczema symptoms in people prone to it. If dust mite allergens damage the skin barrier, it is also less capable of preventing exposure to other allergens.



What Are The Symptoms & Remedies for Dust Mites?



Many people who do not have eczema, or are not prone to it, have a house dust allergy and are allergic to dust mite allergens.


Some symptoms of dust mite allergies tend to occur year-round, and worsen while sleeping because of exposure to allergens in bedding, pillows, and mattresses.


Common symptoms of a dust mite allergy include:


  • nasal congestion, sneezing, sinus inflammation, and a post nasal drip

itchy skin

  • cough

  • unexplained exhaustion

  • trouble sleeping because of wheezing, coughing, or difficulty breathing


The allergens in dust mites can also trigger other allergic conditions, such as:


  • allergic asthma

  • allergic rhinitis with only nose symptoms

  • allergic rhinoconjunctivitis with nose and eye symptoms

  • sinusitis

  • increased sensitivity to other allergens and irritants such as pollution, dry air, smoke, and pollen


How Do I Treat/Remedy the Effects On My Skin from Dust Mites?


People with eczema can manage exposure to triggers such as dust mites, but they must still seek medical treatment for eczema and use other methods to help prevent it from worsening.


At-home or lifestyle remedies for eczema include:


  • identifying triggers and taking steps to limit or reduce exposure

  • bathing daily in lukewarm water and applying moisturisers with ceramides immediately afterward

  • getting enough sleep and exercise

  • bathing with soothing ingredients such as oatmeal, diluted apple cider vinegar, and baking soda, or creating a paste with these ingredients and applying it to the skin

  • keeping nails trimmed or wearing cotton gloves, especially to bed

  • using cleansers with a low pH

  • applying cool compresses to the skin

  • avoiding itching or scratching the skin

  • wearing soft, breathable clothes such as those made of loose-fitting cotton

  • avoiding sitting with bare legs on rough carpet, grass, plastic chairs, or other potentially irritating surfaces


Tips To Help Prevent Dust Mite Allergies:


While there is no way to completely get rid of dust mites, there are several strategies for reducing exposure to them. Tips for reducing dust mites include:


  • dusting household surfaces as often as possible with a wet mop or damp dusting cloth

  • vacuuming carpets and rugs several times each week

  • cleaning furniture, toys, and other household items weekly, paying particular attention to vacuuming the seams where dust mites tend to accumulate

  • washing bed linens at least twice each week and pillows and duvets every 4–6 weeks in water that is 140°F, and drying items using a tumbling, hot setting in a dryer

  • using an air purifier that contains a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, especially in bedrooms

  • vacuuming mattresses thoroughly every few weeks

  • washing or dry-cleaning cushion covers, curtains, and fabric-containing toys regularly in water that is at least 140°F

  • choosing furniture in materials that are easier to fully clean, such as leather, vinyl, or wood

  • switching fabric curtains for plastic roller blinds

  • changing carpeted flooring to materials that can be easily cleaned, such as wood, linoleum, vinyl, or laminate

  • allowing good airflow in the home to reduce humidity, or using a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels below 50%

  • replacing mattresses and pillows when they become old or too hard to clean, and buying washable pillows

  • using anti-dust mite covers to protect mattresses, pillows, and duvets

  • keeping items that sit on open shelves such as books inside a cupboard, and keeping toys in a closet or toy box

  • putting non-washable toys in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least 24 hours, then brushing off potential dust mites

  • reducing excess items in the home

  • brushing pets frequently, ideally outdoors

  • wearing rubber gloves and a face mask while cleaning

  • if considering new or additional pets, looking into breeds or species that shed less fur and dander

  • using acaricides short term, which are chemicals that can kill house dust mites

  • cleaning vacuum filters frequently and using a low-dust exhaust vacuum cleaner

  • using cotton bed linens


In Summary, Dust mite allergens or contact may trigger allergic conditions such as eczema.


Most people can reduce symptoms of eczema linked with dust mite exposure by following an eczema treatment plan and taking steps to reduce the number of dust mites and dust mite allergens in their homes and household items.


If you need any help with your skin issues or for more tips on how to maintain healthy skin, then feel free to reach out.


Book a Free Consultation with me today via https://calendly.com/naturalskinbylynne



For more information, help or advice on your skin please get in touch –

Your skin will thank you!

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