Think back to a time when you were affected by allergies. You may have noticed that your eyes were constantly watering. They were itchy. Your skin felt as though it was burning. You may have even experienced a rash or two. You couldn’t stop sneezing. Now, imagine all of those symptoms, but as a baby. How awful!
Babies aren’t able to communicate their aches and pains. As a parent, it’s up to you to keep an eye out for symptoms that might indicate your baby has an allergy-specifically to dust mites. What are dust mites you ask? Read on to learn all about them and how you can help your baby!
The Down-low on Dust Mites
Dust mites are little creatures that are similar to spiders. While your eyes cannot see them, a microscope can-that’s how tiny they are. They like to stick around houses, feeding on anything that comes their way. While it may make your skin crawl a bit, you need to know that they take up their home in most bed. Sheets are the number one item that provides a warm home to mites. There’s also plenty of moisture, skin, and other materials for them to cling to.
In addition to sheets, dust mites are often found on stuffed animals and other toys made out of material, in your carpet, and also on your clothing and fabric furniture-yikes!
The grossest part about all of this is that their fecal “stuff” is what so many of us are allergic to-especially babies!
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Allergic to Dust Mites?
You know that your baby has an allergy to dust mites if you notice any of the following:
- Excessive sneezing
- An extremely runny nose
- Shortness of Breath
These signs are most prevalent in the morning and evening, but can be exhibited any time.
What Should I Do If I Think My Baby Has a Dust Mite Allergy?
If you think your little one is allergic to dust mites, the first thing you can do is mention it to their pediatrician. In some extreme cases, they may want you to check in with an allergist.
In the meantime, you can be sure that you run a dehumidifier in their nursery at night. While many parents swear by a humidifier, babies with dust mite allergies need the opposite-a dehumidifier.
Because mites like to thrive in warm and moist areas (and of temperature of about 65 degrees or higher); you should keep the moisture in their room beneath 50%. It has been shown that moisture levels kept at that percentage can make mites shrivel up and die.
Using a special vacuum twice daily can also help to resolve the situation. There are vacuums on the market designed with special filters (HEPA) that are great at targeting and collecting these dust mites, rather than re-expelling them back into the air, like others can. This will only make the allergy worse.
In addition to vacuuming regularly, you will also find that if you wash your floors every few days, wash sheets and comforters weekly, wipe down all of your surfaces with a dust polisher once a week, and regularly wash and wipe down blind, you will notice that your child’s symptoms will improve.
Don’t forget about those hard to reach corners and crevices either! Picture frames tend to be a big culprit too! If your baby has a very severe allergy, it may be wise to cut down on the amount of stuff you display around your home. Keep your décor simple-it will provide a less cluttered, cleaner house without knick knacks that literally collect dust.
Also, treat your air conditioning system. Dust mites can get up and in your vest, so be sure to maintain it at least once a year by getting a special spray put on it by an HVAC specialist. They may even suggest that you insert an HEPA (similar to what you have in your vacuum) in your central system, if possible. This will help you gain control in the air that you breathe and will spread less dust around your home.
Many parents also suggest keeping windows and doors closed and only running an air conditioning system-especially during summer months when it can get pretty humid in your home.
If your baby isn’t getting any relief after all of these actions, invest in a small, portable hair purifier to keep near your baby’s crib so that they have clean air to breathe, right in front of them.
Purchasing from trusted toddler or baby boutiques such as Bitsy Bug Boutique will also help ensure that you baby clothing is not arriving with dust mites already. If you buy from department stores, be extra sure to wash your clothes before putting them on your baby or toddler.
If your baby has a dust mite allergy, it can get pretty frustrating, but there’s hope. Consider some of the suggestions above so you know how you can protect and improve your little one’s health.