Will haze affect me if I have a dust mite allergy?

Protect your sensitive skin from the haze
Protect your sensitive skin from the haze

The haze is back! This morning’s PSI levels: 108 (unhealthy). But you don’t need a reading to tell you that the air quality has dropped over the last few days. When you look out the window, visibility is poor, your throat is dry, and your nose itches. On a really bad day, you can actually see the haze at the other end of the room.

But if you have a dust mite allergy, does haze make your skin flare up? Is haze the same as dust? Let’s do some googling:

What creates haze in Singapore?

  • stationary sources such as power stations, oil refineries and industries;
  • mobile sources such as motor vehicles; and
  • others such as open burning of waste materials and transboundary air pollution.

That third item is the important one, since forest fires in the region and the prevailing Southwest Monsoon winds blow the smoke from the fires in our direction.

What is haze from open burning made out of?

sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and particulate matter called PM10 (particulate matter of 10 microns or smaller in size)

Ok, so what is household dust made of?

  • pet dander and hair
  • mold (mostly in the bathroom)
  • human skin flakes
  • dust mites
  • droppings

All very biological, then. And since haze is not biological, I should be fine, right?

Wrong. Eczema sufferers already have highly sensitive skin, and the haze can aggravate your condition:

The haze should have little effect on healthy skin, said Dr Steven Thng, consultant dermatologist at the National Skin Centre. But those with eczema may find it becoming itchy and inflamed, he said. Using moisturiser three to four times a day can help protect the skin.

If you want to protect your skin further, you may also want to use a shielding lotion, such as Gloves in a Bottle (I use it and love it).

So the conclusion is this. If you have identified dust mites as the main cause of your eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, then the haze will make little or no difference since you’re not further exposed to your allergens. But since haze can dry the skin, you need to protect it with moisturisers or shielding lotion.

Stay healthy, everyone!

Image by micamonkey on Flickr: http://bit.ly/12FkkdC


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