Dust mites have long been known as the No. 1 cause for allergic asthma around the world. They are the “perfect respirable particle” – at only seven microns in size – and thus, easily inhaled into the lungs.
Based on this information it has long been assumed that the development of dust-mite allergy must occur via breathing in the particles.
Well, new research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris has found otherwise. It seems that the early development of dust-mite sensitivity occurs through the skin. This finding helps explain why many infants have eczema caused by dust-mite allergy, and then later develop allergic asthma.
The researchers in Paris found that dust mites are able to initiate this allergic immune response even in children with normal intact skin. Of course, once eczema develops, there is more ready penetration of the skin layers.
Based on this research it seems reasonable to work harder to minimize dust-mite exposure to infants. Good moves: use mite-barrier sheets, avoid stuffed animals and frequently wash sheets.