dust environmental triggers eczema home

Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) is a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, cracked, and rough. In mild cases, sufferers will experience skin redness and itchiness, and in severe cases, blisters may occur which are painful and become open wounds. This happens because of the body's over reactive immune system responding to an irritant to the skin. In many cases, the body's immune system does not just attack the irritant, but also attacks "good" proteins in the body, hence, causing the varying symptoms mentioned above.

The root cause of eczema is still unknown, and incidence of eczema is higher in children, and reduces as we age. While there is no cure eczema, there have been many studies that have identified triggers or factors that might cause symptoms to appear, hence, we can take proactive measures to reduce the presences of these triggers or allergens in our homes and lives.


Below are 10 Eczema Environmental Triggers at home

1. Drastic changes in temperature

In the tropical heat of Singapore, it is common for most of us to have the air-condition blasting all day long, but do remember that big changes in temperature, i.e. when you leave or enter an air-conditioned room, can be a trigger for eczema. So, a good practise before heading home or leaving home, is to have a good 15 - 30 mins of transtion when you have both the air-condition turn on or off while the windows are open to also get natural air mixing in.

2. Sweating

Dry off with a soft and dry cloth, and keep the room airy while your body cools off (refer to first point). 

3. Insect bites / Mosquito bites

Insects bites can also cause eczema-like symptoms such as itchy, red bumps on the skin. It can worsen eczema if you’re already infected.

4. Dust / House Dust Mites

These are very tiny animals commonly found in homes. They are too small to be seen with our naked eye alone, but under a microscope, the look like white bugs. They are mostly found in areas with high humidity like the kitchen and bedroom. They are a very common trigger of eczema in the environment. They are different ways they do that, one is through their droppings which contains digestive enzymes and their exoskeleton. Regular home cleaning should be carried out to avoid mites reproducing in your home. You should vacuum regularly with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high-powered filter, get rid of carpets and rugs that harbor dust, tiles is preferable. Wash your curtains and clothes regularly, lastly also wash your children’s toys (especially plush toys) as they can harbor mites if not properly maintained.

5. Animal Dander

Dander is an informal term for materials shed from the body of humans and animals. Animal dander can cause severe allergic reactions for humans. Dogs and cats fur are major triggers of eczema in our environment. Other carriers include bird droppings and cat saliva. If you suspect that your eczema is appear as a result of your pets, you might need to cut down your pets hair/fur and also do regular cleanup. In extreme cases, you get rid of the pet.

6. Mold

Molds grow mostly in areas with high humidity and damp environment. hence they are mostly found in the kitchen, bathroom and other damp areas within your house. In hot and humid Singapore, they also breed in the bedrooms, behind cupboards, where it is nice, dark and humid. Also check the washing machine, between the suction folds, and below the drum. Molds is another cause of eczema on your skin, it reproduces asexually through spores formation which are carried in the air and this spores can settle on the skin or get into your body through the nostrils. It is also a cause for other respiratory health issues.The presence of mold on the skin can change alter the type of microbe found in the skin, this can lead to weakening of the skin and cause eczema. Molds can also settle in our foods if they are not properly covered!!Air your home regularly to prevent mold, if mold has grown, use a good general-purpose or multi-purpose cleaner to effectively wipe away the mold. You may also use vinegar to clean mold, but never use bleach ... it cleans the mold, but is highly toxic to your health, and it's poisonous fumes lingers in your home for days.

7. Soaps & Bubble baths

Be careful of the soap that you use to clean your body. They might contain high levels of chemicals that are by products of fossil fuels, that contain sulphates, parabens which are harmful for your health and may cause skin dryness and eventually trigger eczema. Also be careful of natural, eco-friendly products that contain SLS or SLES. These 2 ingredients are known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. While they are derived from coconuts (hence, natural and plant-based), research has proven them to be an irritant for the skin.

8. Laundry detergent

Similar to soaps, avoid laundry detergent, washing powder or laundry liquid with SLS or SLES, as they skin irritants may leave residue on your clothing after washing, and these would then trigger eczema or other skin irritation.

9. Cleaning supplies

Most of us forgot about the impact of cleaning supplies have on our health. We use it everyday for our entire homes, but we often forget or neglect that we are using rather harsh chemicals, i.e. alcohol, sulfates, synthetic, ammonia, bleach, to clean up after us. These chemicals through fumes, skin contact are all triggers of eczema and other health issues. Use natural alternatives such as bi-carbonate soda, vinegar and lemon, or swtich to use natural (safe) cleaning products.

10. Stress

Finally, the doctor could not prescribe anything for this common ailment - stress. Stress has also been found to be correlated to the triggerring eczema and a host of other issues. The home is a place for comfort and peace. Let it be a place you can de-stress and live a healthy live.

While you can't change the fact that you have eczema, you can change your lifestyle such that eczema does not inhibit your life. Look out for these environmental triggers of eczema at home and start to cross them out of your life. 

Healthy living should not just be a dream, but a reality.

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January 31, 2018 — Fionna Lee