Dust Mites

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 dustproof or allergen-blocking covers. These covers, made of tightly woven fabric, prevent dust mites from colonizing or escaping from the mattress or pillows.

• Wash bedding weekly. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bedcovers in hot water that is at least 50º C to kill dust mites and remove allergens. If bedding can't be washed hot, put the items in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 50º C to kill the mites. Then wash and dry the bedding to remove allergens.

• Reduce the relative humidity in the house, or at least in the bedroom, at least to 50% (using a dehumidifier if necessary).

• Avoid bedcovers that trap dust easily and are difficult to clean frequently. Places should contain little furniture and objects. These should be preferably washable (smooth surfaces, formica, metal, etc.).

• The presence of books, figurines and soft toys is especially dangerous (reduce them to 2 or 3 and keep them off the bed. Wash them once a month and put them in a dryer for 20 minutes). Carpets or rugs, and curtains should be preferably light. 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.

• Clean the room with a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters, since it is not desirable to raise dust with brooms or dusters. Use wet clothes for cleaning windows, doors, etc.

• Remove carpeting and other dust mite habitats. Carpeting provides a comfortable habitat for dust mites. This is especially true if carpeting is over concrete, which holds moisture easily and provides a humid environment for mites. If possible, replace wall-to-wall bedroom carpeting with tile, wood, linoleum or vinyl flooring. Consider replacing other dust-collecting furnishings in bedrooms, such upholstered furniture, no washable curtains and horizontal blinds.

• Before wearing clothing that has been stored from the previous year (mainly coats, jackets, sweaters, etc.) it should be aired thoroughly.

• Wardrobes should be closed and if sleeping in bunk beds the patient should sleep at the top. It is not advisable to sleep on a sofa or armchair.

• Install a high efficiency media filter in your furnace and air conditioning unit. Be sure to change the filter every three months.

• It is not recommended that the patient is present while cleaning the bedroom and/or home.