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Getting rid of dust mites

September 21st, 2012

Getting rid of dust mites

Dust mites have a major ick factor, and unfortunately can make our allergy or asthma symptoms worse.  In addition, they can cause skin problems called scabies.

Let’s look at what dust mites are and how you can best conquer the little invaders.

If your allergist says dust mites are aggravating your asthma or causing a skin problem, here are some steps you can take, according to the University of California, Berkeley:

  1. Buy a good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Replace the HEPA filter regularly. Also, if you suffer from the allergies, get someone else to vacuum and dust.
  2. If your allergies are severe, remove carpet, upholstered furniture and drapes from your bedroom. Install flooring such as hardwood, laminate, or tile that is easy to clean and dust. Also, switch over to wooden blinds.
  3. Wash bed linens and blankets in hot water each week and use a hot dryer setting.
  4. Use impermeable covers to encase pillows, mattresses and blankets that can’t be washed.
  5. Replace all pillows periodically, no matter what they are made of.
  6. In damp climates, use a dehumidifier. Dust mites thrive in humid conditions.

The Allergy Cleanup Handout also has tips for the kitchen, bathroom, attic, and basement.

eHow’s article on preventing dust mite allergies is quite similar.

  1. Wash bedding on a weekly basis in hot water
  2. Use a plastic dust mite covers on your mattress, box springs, and pillows. New ones are plastic on the inside and soft cloth on the outside.
  3. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting.
  4. Use blinds instead of drapes and curtains
  5. Get rid of stuffed toys that cannot be washed in hot water.

Your child may be unhappy with the loss of the stuffed toy, but perhaps you can limit the number of stuffies in your home.

Squidoo had a great lens to better understand what dust mites are and how we can’t completely escape them:

We All Live With Dust Mites

Dust mites are the most common cause of allergic reactions. In Allergic asthmatics about 90% of them react to dust mites while 10% of non asthmatics react to them. The reactions would include sneezing, itchy eyes, stuffy nose and coughing. Dust mites are an allergy trigger and can cause an asthma attack. New research says they trick the immune system into believing it is being infected by a bacteria therefore it tries to fight it off, this can cause an attack.

Dust mites like dark, humid environments so sunlight and humidity under 50% is not good for them and their populations decrease. They are not as prevalent in cold, dry or very hot places. Also they are seen in reduced numbers in high altitude areas.

They live on all kinds of fabrics, wool, cotton, polyester and are even found on clothing. It was shown that people wearing wool sweaters had higher levels of dust mites than other materials. The fact that people don’t wash wool in hot water might be one factor. Dry cleaning is said to kill the mites but not all the allergens.

The type of furniture and decorations in the home can make a difference in the amount of dust in the home. Carpets can be great hiding places for them, especially hard to vacuum shag type. Upholstered furniture, multitude of pillows, stuffed animals, dried flowers and knick knacks harbor them. Also the amount of furniture in the home can make a difference. If your home is cluttered it will collect more dust than if it is sparsely decorated. But even a empty home will have dust.

So, do what you can to keep the dust at bay, and if you suffer from severe allergies or asthma, consider modifying your home to reduce the allergens.

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