Avoidance Strategies for Dust Mite Allergy

  • Efforts should be concentrated in the bedroom (as we spend most indoor time there).
  • Encase mattress, box spring, and pillow in “mite proof” allergen encasements.
  • Wash all bedding in hot water (>130°F) to kill the mites.
  • Remove all dust collectors (for example, stuffed animals).
  • Remove upholstered furniture in favor of leather or wipeable furniture and minimize or wash soft drapery.
  • Remove wall-to-wall carpets from the bedroom if possible. Bare vinyl or hardwood floors are best.
  • Vacuum carpets and furniture no more than once per week.
  • Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If you are allergic, wear a filter mask while dusting, sweep-ing or vacuuming.
  • Remember, it takes over two hours for the dust to settle back down, so if possible clean when the allergic patient is away and don’t clean the bedroom at night.
  • Measure the indoor humidity and keep it below 55 percent. Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers. You may need a dehumidifier. Use vent fans in bathrooms and when cooking to remove moisture. Repair all water leaks.
  • If you have forced hot air heat-ing or central A/C, install a high efficiency media filter in the furnace and air-conditioning unit. Leave the fan on to create a “whole house” air filter that removes particulates. Change the filter at least every three months (with the change of the season)

What is a Dust Mite?

  • Dust mites are approximately 1/3 mm, sightless, 8-legged arachnids
  • Dust mites are closely related to ticks, scabies, and spiders
  • Mites are photophobic (do not like the light) and very susceptible to drying and therefore live in nests such as mattresses, carpets, sofas and bedding
  • In these sites there is ample food source (human skin scales)
  • Mites continue to grow deep inside their “nests” in which the micro environment remains humid
  • In temperate areas where temperature and humidity are highest in mid summer, mite numbers (and allergen) in-crease rapidly and there is a peak or season of mite allergen in the Fall and early Winter