Around the Home

Indoor allergens and irritants can trigger the signs and symptoms of atopic
dermatitis, a type of eczema that occurs when there is a genetic predisposition to atopic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. Taking some precautions around the home can help prevent flare-ups:

1. Control Dust Mites. Some studies suggest that reducing dust mites can reduce symptoms; other studies show no effect. For the most part, only children have shown improvement when dust mites were controlled. This is what can be done to control dust mites in a child’s room:

  • Eliminate carpeting, rugs and blinds.

  • Limit upholstered furniture. The only upholstered item in the bedroom should be the bed.

  • Cover box spring and mattress in plastic zippered covers and wipe off covers weekly.

  • Keep furnishings to a minimum. Only items made of wood, rubber, metal, or plastic should be used. That goes for toys, too.

  • Use a pillow and mattress pad made of Dacron®.

  • Clean the room thoroughly each week. This should include wiping the floor, furniture, tops of doors, window frames, and sills with a damp cloth or oil mop.

  • Wash all bed clothes and curtains at least once a week in water that is 130° F or hotter.

  • Air the room thoroughly after cleaning.

  • Keep all animals with fur or feathers out.

2. Keep home’s humidity level between 45% and 55%. Dehumidifiers and humidifiers can keep humidity levels between 45% and 55%. Use a hygrometer, a device that measures humidity, to monitor the amount of moisture in the air. Hygrometers are available in places where thermometers are sold, such as a local hardware store.

3. Avoid contact with pets that have fur or feathers. When fur and feathers come into contact with skin, they can cause a flare-up. Pet dander is another common trigger. Be sure to keep pets with fur or feathers out of the bedroom.

4. Avoid contact with harsh dish-washing products and household cleaners.  Look for natural alternatives to bleaches and other cleaners that contain harsh chemicals.  If you must use such cleansers, wear protective gloves.  Wearing cotton gloves under rubber gloves can help prevent a flare-up if you have an allergy to latex.

5. Cover up in the yard. If plants or other things in the yard trigger a flare-up, wearing gloves and long pants and sleeves may help prevent a flare-up.

References:
AAD Guidelines of Care for Atopic Dermatitis. July 26, 2003

How to Create a Dust-free Bedroom,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. October 2001


All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

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