How to Prevent Dust mites in your Home

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Cooler weather can be challenging, especially for those with asthma. The furnace runs continuously, we don’t open our windows as much, and we may spend a lot more time indoors. This can be the perfect condition for allergic reactions and/or asthma attacks for those that are sensitive or allergic to dust mites.  But there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your exposure at home, and the best part is you won’t need to purchase pesticides or costly equipment.

Dust mites are one of the most common allergy and asthma triggers found in the home. They can only be seen under the microscope. They feed off dead skill cells and can be found anywhere humans and warm-blooded animals live. Dust mites settle in places where dead skin cells are most likely to accumulate. This may include sheets, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets, rugs, stuffed animals, blinds, curtains and pet bedding & furniture. 

Dust mites do not bite or live on people or animals. However, they are considered allergens and can cause the following symptoms:

  • Worsening of asthma
  • Sneezing, coughing, sore or hoarse throat 
  • Postnasal drip, stuffy nose 
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Red, itchy skin
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Swollen blue-colored skin under the eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the presence of dust mites

  • Keep your home under 50% humidity, use a dehumidifier if needed
  • Remove carpet or use a vacuum with a HEPA filter once a week
  • Dust weekly with a damp cloth
  • Wash bedding/clothes weekly using hot water
  • Use furnace filters with a rating of MERV 8 or higher and replace filter every 3 months
  • Use zippered mattress, box spring and pillow protectors made to block dust mites
  • Reduce clutter, especially in the bedroom
  • Launder stuffed toys weekly and keep them off the bed
  • Use your vacuum attachment to vacuum the mattress periodically
  • Avoid sleeping directly on upholstered furniture

By putting these measures into practice, you will lower the population of dust mites, alleviate allergies and help prevent asthma attacks. Contact your health provider if you continue to have symptoms despite taking these precautions.  

 

 

Sources for information:

https://www.healthline.com/health/dust-mites-bites#allergic-reactions

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/symptoms-causes/syc-20352173

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/dust-allergies#1

 


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