Dust mite allergy is common in childhood and management can vary depending on so many different factors, including the age of the child.
These are the tiny little critters that live in our house but we can’t see them!
Unfortunately, they are completely impossible to get rid of. So, we’ll talk about some strategies that we can go through to help reduce them.
We will also cover what they’ve got to do with childhood allergy and the effects that they have on children.
Two different types of dust mite that exist in Australia. There’s the North American house dust mite D. farinae, and the European house dust mite, D. pteronyssinus.
Normally, when you have a skin prick test to dust mite, it’s those two who are the most commonly tested for.
They’re between 0.2 and 0.3 millimetres in length, and they’re translucent. So you won’t see them with the naked eye. They feed on our skin flakes, and a lot of the dust you see in your house will be either dust mite or the dust mite faeces, and yes, it’s just absolutely disgusting, but unfortunately, that’s just life.
The average life cycle for a dust mite is between 65 and a hundred days. Roundabout 70 days is the optimal.
Positive tests for dust-mite are common in many people but common in people with asthma. Dust-mite can’t trigger anaphylaxis, but it can trigger asthma symptoms, which can be confused with anaphylaxis sometimes because it has a lot of the same symptoms like, shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the chest, funny feeling in the throat and itching. So there is a lot of crossover of symptoms.
They like to nest in warm moist environments, they prefer dark warm areas. So things like beds, sofas, soft toys and cushions.
Their faeces includes enzymes that are released upon contact. So when we’re walking about, touching pillows or cuddling teddies it disturbs the dust mite and faeces, and that’s what gets into our airway and causes symptoms.
Washing our clothes, bedding and teddies at 60 degrees or above will kill 99% of a dust mite. If you don’t have a hot wash, then a tumble dryer at 60 degrees or more will do the same job.
Their eggs are tolerant to freezing temperatures so freezing them out will not help.
Dust Mite Mattress Protectors
There are some sheets, bedding and pillow cases that you can get that help with allergy, but honestly, the washing and the tumble drying and the regular hoovering is going to be a lot more effective and cheaper unless you want to get a cleaner! (that might not be cheaper!)
So what you need to think about with your children is their bedding environment because that’s where (if you’ve got a child that sleeps), they spend a lot of their time with their head right next to all these pillows and toys for an extended length of time, so they are breathing that in all night long.
The biggest tip we can give you is to make sure those teddies are either minimised or regularly washed or tumble dried.
Hoovering a couple of times a week as well as washing the bedsheets weekly will really help.
Dustmite Allergy Immunotherapy
There are treatments, like nasal sprays and antihistamine. There is also another treatment called immunotherapy. It’s pretty commonly used and has to be prescribed by a specialist. Please make sure you consult a paediatric immunologist.
Immunotherapy can be used via drops on the tongue, wafers or injections. The injection of immunotherapy works in a similar way to a vaccine. It’s introducing something into your body that you want to get used to and know how to deal with.
Baby First Aid Course
When you complete one of our baby first aid courses, we also talk about childhood allergy, but you can also talk to our in house allergy specialist to talk about dustmite and other aeroallergen symptoms. We run classes in your home with groups of 2, 4 or up to 10 in Sydney & Melbourne and you can book in 3 easy steps!
- Pick your class
- Follow the prompts to purchase
- We will contact you within 24 hours to lock in your date of choice
Contact us today with any questions. We cant wait to meet you!
Here are some further resources you might enjoy!
FREE GUIDE: Introducing Common Allergy Foods & Allergic Reactions
Book a baby & child first aid class
The Nest CPR & Allergy Flock FB Group
Online Baby & Child First Aid