Infants Exposed to Dust Mites Less Likely to Develop Allergies

About Dr. Belinda Mantle

Dr. Mantle’s practice is focused on the diagnosis and management of pediatric patients with common ears, nose and throat disorders. She pursued sub-specialty training in pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Dr. Mantle is fellowship-trained in pediatric otolaryngology and is a board-certified diplomate of the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery.

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infant-allergiesCan you believe exposing your baby to this creature may actually decrease their risk of developing allergies! Counterintuitive but possibly true. Infants purposefully exposed to dust mites were 1/3 as likely to develop allergies. These findings from a UK study were presented today at the European Academy of Allery and Clinical Immunology.

In this study of 111 children with allergic parents, half were treated with oral drops containing dust mite allergen and the other half with placebo. These children were given drops twice a day from 6 months to 18 months of age. In the placebo group 25.5% developed allergies but in the dust mite treated patients only 9.4% developed allergies. Researchers hope by reducing allergies early in life it could reduce childhood development of asthma, eczema and other allergic disease. They plan to follow up with the children in this study at 3 and 5 years of age.

So what are these creatures? They are dust mites and one of the main culprits responsible for allergies. Exposure to high levels of dust mites can contribute to the development of childhood asthma. Dust mites are microscopic arachnids (8 legged) which eat skin and pet dander. They are found in pillows, mattresses, sofas and carpeting. Once you are allergic to dust mites it is important to reduce your exposure to them to control symptoms. However, this repost and other recent studies have shown early exposure to dust mites may be protective but must occur before the baby’s 1st birthday.

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