House dust mites for child

House dust mites for child

The house dust mite is a tiny organism, invisible to the naked eye, which is found in all households although it does not like high-lying, dry areas like the Karoo. It lives on the human skin which is continually being shed, and likes dark, humid places like mattresses and dusty bookshelves. After they die, the mites disintegrate and are inhaled, causing symptoms in the allergy-prone.

How to limit the house dust mite population/infestation. Dust collectors such as fluffy rugs and toys, artificial flowers and dried flowers should go. No feather pillows, eiderdowns, feather flowers or birds should be kept. The child’s room should be kept as simple as possible with an easily washable, smooth bedspread; no bookshelves; toys should be plastic or wood, not wool or fabric covered (soft toys are sometimes filled with cat fur making them doubly allergenic); curtains should be washable and clothes should be kept in a closed cupboard. Humidity should be kept low by using an asbestos heater if the room or house needs to be heated.

The floor should preferably be tiled or linoleum covered so that it can be wiped down. If not, it should be vacuumed daily. The mattress should be aired as often as possible. A plastic-covered mattress helps keep the house dust mite population down, and should be aired, wiped down and turned as often as possible ” at least once a week. Once a month the room should be emptied and cleaned with a damp cloth, wiping all walls, woodwork, floor and cupboards, every surface that it is possible to reach.

Pollen-induced hay fever. The child should avoid playing in the grass during the pollen season and stay indoors while grass is being cut. She should always sleep with her windows closed.

Desensitisation by injecting extracts of the allergen (usually three or four injections) is possible and can help significantly if the cause of the allergy is known, but it is not recommended for children under six. Skin tests for sensitivity can help pin-point allergens. There are also a number of new drugs which are inhaled and produce very good results in all forms of allergic rhinitis.

Nasal polyps. These are soft and grape-like and may be found in the nasal cavity or the sinuses. Their significance in allergies is not clearly defined but children who have them tend to be mouth breathers and cough at night owing to the mucus that drips into the throat. They are sometimes removed.

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