Why House Dust Mite Avoidance is Hard

Why House Dust Avoidance is Hard

Another way to title this is ‘Why allergists can be meanies’. How could we even think of shattering such a peaceful, tranquil, and sweet image? I wonder if this is the more commonplace reality of young children and stuffed animals.

A colleague of mine, Dr. Veda Ackerman once told me that an allergist can never give a talk without saying something about house dust mites and/or showing a picture of a house dust mite. She is probably correct on that.

The simple retort is that house dust mites are important allergens. Individuals can be sensitized and allergic to proteins in the fecal pellet of the house dust mites. Yes that is where the allergen is found in feces (also known by a number of other terms not allowed on this site). I recall the look of horror when a patient on oral drops from house dust mites realized the source of the allergen.

In the lore of allergy, it has been said that inch for inch that there are more house dust mites in stuffed animals than any other item manufactured by mankind. Given that fact, when there is sensitization to house dust mites and this is suspected as a reason for allergy symptoms, the most effective therapy is avoidance of the house dust mite. So the recommendation is the removal of the stuffed animals from the child’s environment. There are a few other options; placing the stuffed animal in the freezer over night once a week or dry cleaning the critter. I fear that in this situation, the freezer would be filled to capacity with these friends.

 This picture of my granddaughter clearly shows why advising avoidance of stuffed animals can be a problem. It is often said that more than one stuffed animal in the bed with a house dust mite sensitive/allergic individual is too many.  Fortunately Stella has no allergic conditions. This picture is precious. My daughter labels it as ‘Stella and her friends’.

Stella’s Papa


August 12, 2010 · fleickly · 3 Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Dust, Family, House dust mite avoidance, Interesting Stories

3 Responses

  1. Bethany - August 15, 2010

    What should I do if someone gave my daughter a 25+ year old stuffed animal? Even if she is not sensitive to dust mites, is this a cause for concern?

  2. fleickly - August 15, 2010

    I hope we didn’t do that dear daughter! I am not a big fan of stuffed animals (occupational issues). Such an antique may have quite a collection of allergenic potential-not just house dust mite matter but others. I would consider it an heirloom. It should be encased in non-permeable plastic and placed on a high shelf (in a garage)- for viewing only and not cuddling.

  3. Bethany - August 16, 2010

    Good to know–this 25 year old bunny was given as a gift by another family member, and Stella loves playing with it. I didn’t even think about potential “issues” with it until you posted this. I think I’ll put it away.