By The Mayo Clinic
Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny bugs that commonly live in house dust. Signs of dust mite allergy include sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Dust mites, close relatives of ticks and spiders, are too small to see without a microscope. Dust mites eat skin cells shed by people, and they thrive in warm, humid environments. In most homes, bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting provide an ideal environment for dust mites.
Steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home can often control dust mite allergy. Medications or other treatments may be necessary to relieve symptoms and manage asthma.
Avoiding exposure to dust mites is the best strategy for controlling dust mite allergy. While you can’t completely eliminate dust mites from your home, you can significantly reduce their number.
USE THESE SUGGESTIONS:
Use allergen-proof bed covers. Cover your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers. These covers, made of tightly woven fabric, prevent dust mites from colonising or escaping from the mattress or pillows. Encase box springs in allergen-proof covers.
Wash bedding weekly. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bedcovers at least once. Freezing non-washable items for 24 hours can kill dust mites, but this won’t remove the allergens.
Keep humidity low. Maintain a relative humidity below 50% in your home. A dehumidiifer or air conditioner can help keep humidity low, and a hygrometer (available at hardware stores) can measure humidity levels.
Choose bedding wisely. Avoid bedcovers that trap dust easily and are difficult to clean frequently.
Buy washable stuffed toys. Wash them often in hot water and dry thoroughly. Also, keep stuffed toys off beds.
Remove dust. Use a damp or oiled mop or rag rather than dry materials to clean up dust. This prevents dust from becoming airborne and resettling.
Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming carpeting and upholstered furniture removes surface dust – but vacuuming isn’t effective at removing most dust mites and dust mite allergens. Use a vacuum cleaner with a double- layered micro-filter bag or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to help decrease house-dust emissions from the cleaner. If your allergies are severe, leave the area being vacuumed while someone else does the work. Stay out of the vacuumed room for about two hours after vacuuming.
Cut clutter. If it collects dust, it also collects dust mites.