Moths can be as bad as mites

If you have trouble with your skin - eczema, dry skin, itchiness, redness, rashes, etc - the cause could be dust mites. But it could also be moths - common clothes moths!

A study reported in Allergy found that almost 60% of people who react to dust mites are also sensitive to moths.

The adult clothes moth lays 50-150 eggs, usually in clothes, but sometimes in upholstered furniture, mattresses, bedding such as cotton sheets, or feather pillows.

Dislodged scales from adult moths can become a problem for some people who are exposed to these in large numbers, but it is the allergen produced by the clothes moth larvae, as they chomp their way through fabric, which is most likely to cause skin irritation.

To avoid this particular allergen, keep clean clothes wrapped in plastic coverings and don't leave soiled clothes lying around, especially not in dark corners - the favourite haunt of the clothes moth.

Regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter-equipped machine (from Allergy Best Buys - 08707 455002) will help to avoid this, as well as other allergens.

Maintenance of a good skin barrier is of paramount importance for anyone with a tendency to any skin problem. A good shielding lotion that bonds with the outer layer of the skin to form a protective barrier will help to keep out any allergen that might survive the moth control routine. ‘Gloves in a bottle’, also from Allergy Best Buys, is a good option.

November 2007

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