Dust mite allergies are a common trigger of eczema flares for many. Dust mites--tiny relatives of spiders--thrive in bedding because they eat flakes of skin. And with the amount of skin that flakes off when you have eczema, it's a catch-22 problem.
From what I can find out, dust mite feces is the major source of their allergens. Eww!
One solution is to get allergy shots: regular injections of allergens at low doses that cause your immune system to develop a tolerance over time. I don't know what the regimen is--how many shots, and when you have to get them--but it is undoubtedly a hassle. Certainly it goes on for years. Doctors have debated how many years, some saying that five were required. A new study concludes that three years is enough. (Not a regime you're going to start on a whim.)
I asked the study's author, Iwona Stelmach, a professor at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, for a copy of the paper, but haven't got one yet, so all I know is what I've read in the press release and the paper's abstract. It seems that the researchers worked with a three-part study group, totaling 90 asthmatic children, 30 each of whom had either had no immunotherapy, three years of immunotherapy, or five. While immediately after therapy, the five-year group needed less steroid to control a reaction to dust mite allergen, by the time three years had passed, the three- and five-year groups were essentially the same.
If you've got a severe dust mite allergy (and congratulations on figuring that out), it must be a relief to know you only need three years of allergy shots instead of five.