Dust mites live by the thousands in your bedding, carpet and mattress. They feed on flaked off human skin in bedding, carpet and stuffed toys and furniture. Their droppings are the size of a pollen grain. For those who are not allergic, these microscopic relatives of spiders cause no harm. For the allergy sufferer, they are frequently the main cause of “dust” allergy. Each mite may leave as many as 20 pollen size droppings each day. Each female may lay as many as 50 eggs. New generations are produced every 3 weeks. Their droppings are often a cause of allergy misery, even months after they have died. The inhalation of waste products and fragmented mite body parts cause allergy symptoms. Dust mites multiply and thrive in warm humid weather. Their numbers dwindle with the onset of the cooler weather and lower humidity, but the legacy of their products remains. Usually, during the warmer weather, windows are open and fresh air circulates through the house and dilutes the mite allergens. With cooler weather, windows are closed, and the heat comes on, re-circulating air in the house. This is when mite sufferers usually notice worsening of their symptoms.
Dust Mite Symptoms
Itchy, Red or Watery Eyes
Itchy Nose, Roof of Mouth or Throat
Facial Pressure and Pain
Dust Mites Allergy Treatment
For a dust mite sensitive patient, their surroundings should be as free from dust of all kinds as much as possible. Most people cannot control exposure to dust during their working or daylight hours, but dust can, to a large extent, be minimized in the bedroom. In the course of 24 hours people spend most of their time in the bedroom. While the directions below may seem a little challenging at first, forming simple habits around cleaning and avoidance can make a big difference. For many, the results will be well worth the effort.
In the Bedroom
Encase your mattress, box spring, and pillows in zippered allergen impermeable encasings. This will prevent inhalation of dust mite by-products.
Wash all linens on a weekly basis.
Remove the bedroom carpet, if possible. Millions of mites live in the carpet and become airborne. Replace the carpet with a wipeable surface, (i.e. hardwood, vinyl or tile).
Remove all dust mite-gathering items from the bedroom, (i.e. stuffed toys, stuffed furniture, throw pillows).
Use readily cleanable window treatments that may be washed frequently.
Throughout the Home
If hot air heating is used, adequate filters which are changed regularly as well as an electronic air filter may be helpful to minimize dust throughout the house. Check with your furnace company for further details.
Keep the relative humidity less than 40% in your home to help prevent replication of dust mites. Use air conditioning in the summer.
Use a quality vacuum cleaner with high quality filtration bags (HEPA filter preferred).
Care must be taken to keep down dust throughout the entire house. Go over floors and furniture with a vacuum cleaner at frequent intervals. Use a damp or oiled cloth to avoid raising dust.
Be careful not to handle objects covered with dust, such as books, boxes or clothing that have been stored over a long period of time. Avoid attics, basements and closets and, if exposure is unavoidable, wear a dust mask.