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From the clinic #3: Eczema trigger: house dust mite allergy

publication date: Nov 29, 2014
author/source: DrB
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House dust mites "grazing" - as seen under a microscope. The large large slab in front of them is a shed skin cell (house dust), their staple diet

A young woman recently came to the clinic with a long history of atopic eczema, and mild asthma. She did not think she had any allergies, but she she did think stress was a trigger for her eczema. We arranged to review this in detail, and meanwhile recommended some articles for her to read.

But we also explained that we recommended testing for any removable allergic triggers, and as her eczema had both acute flare-ups, and showed longstanding skin thickening, or lichenification, we also recommended The Combined Approach treatment programme.

She had two blood tests for allergies. The first was the IgE test, for the level of immunoglobulin E, the allergy protein. This was raised. The second test, for particular allergens, revealed no allergy to horses - she was relieved to hear this, as she loves riding horses - but she had a modest allergy for cats, a moderate allergy for grass pollen, and quite a strong allergy to the house dust mite. She does not own a cat and has no plans to have one. Grass pollen sensitivity was not thought to be a problem for her eczema.

What to do about her hypersensitivity to house dust mite?

We know that with The Combined Approach, when lichenification is effectively treated, and then later, acute flare-ups are treated promptly and firmly, gradually over several months the skin becomes more stable, sensitivities become less and acute flare-ups are less troublesome.

However, as house dust mite is a removable trigger, we recommended preventative measures:

The focus for these are the bedroom, the room in the house where the house dust mite is mostly found:

  • The mattress can be fitted with relatively comfortable mite-proof covers
  • New pillows, fitted with mite-proof covers.
  • Duvets are best avoided. Cotton cellular blankets are better - they can be washed every 3-4 months.
  • Ideally, a hard floor surface rather than carpet, and window blinds rather than curtains.
  • Regular cleaning with an appropriate vacuum cleaner.

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