All you need to know about the house dust mite
For the Curious

Allergy, house dust mites (HDM) and children

Listed in this article are the common triggers of childhood allergy, and the symptoms of an allergy to HDM. Exposure to house dust mites (HDM) is recognised as a major cause of allergy, especially in children. Common allergic diseases in childhood are eczema, rhinitis (hayfever) and asthma. All three diseases can appear either separately or together.
Eczema in young children is often the first sign of a potential allergy problem. The commonest form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, also called allergic eczema. If atopic dermatitis becomes established it is considered one part of the 'classic' allergy triangle of eczema, rhinitis and asthma, diseases that can appear independently or together. An allergy to house dust mites (HDM) can impact on all three diseases making symptoms worse. Below is a list of common causes of allergy in children. Please take note of the frequency of mites.

Common causes of allergy in children and the target organ

Gut Skin Lungs Nose Eyes
Egg White Same as Gut + Mites Mites Moulds
Milk Mites Moulds Pets Pets
Soy Animal skin Pets Moulds Mites
Peanuts Pollens Cockroaches Pollen Pollen
Wheat Cockroaches Pollens
Fish Fruits Animal skin
Nuts

Typical house dust mite allergy symptoms are:

  • itchy, runny or congested nose, or sneezing
  • irritable airways, coughing, tight chest, wheezing, or shortness of breath
  • itchy watering, inflammation of both eyes
  • itchy skin, rashes, raised wheals
  • congested sinuses and headache
  • disturbed sleep
  • poor concentration

These are chronic symptoms that may be worse indoors, in bed or in the early morning. Avoidance of HDM exposure is key when it comes to treating symptoms.

In young children the manifestation of eczema is often the first outward sign of an allergy problem. For concerned parents or carers it is vital at this stage to visit a healthcare professional to get sound medical advice before an allergy becomes established.


References

The UCB institute of allergy. European Allergy White Paper; Allergic disease as a public health problem.Braine-l' Alleud: UCB Pharmaceutical Sector, 1997.

Allergy UK, Darker Nights Bring Out the Mites, 26th October 2016. published in Monthly Newsletter, November 2016