How to Cope with a Dust Mite Allergy
Dust mites are not visible to the human eye, but under a microscope they look a lot like spiders. They like to live in dark, warm, and humid places, which is why they are often found in bedding and carpets, and feed on dead skin. While some people do not experience problems with dust mites, around 80% of the US population is allergic to dust mites. Symptoms can be minor, but for some people, they can cause significant problems like itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and nasal congestion. If you are one of the many people affected by a dust mite allergy, this guide outlines how you can cope with your allergy symptoms and minimize your exposure to dust mites in the home.
Relieve your symptoms with medication
You do not need to suffer through your allergy as there are several over-the-counter medications that can relieve dust mite allergy symptoms, including eye drops for allergies, nasal spray, and oral antihistamines. If these medications are not effective, it is best to consult your doctor.
Wash laundry and soft toys in hot water
To kill dust mites in your bedding, you need to wash at a high temperature of at least 130°F every week. You should also wash soft toys in hot water (or freeze them) as they can also hold dust mites. Sunlight will kill dust mites, so hang bedding outside to dry in direct sunlight when you can.
Use a dehumidifier
Dust mites thrive in humidity, so you may want to invest in a dehumidifier which will bring levels down below 40-50%. A HEPA air purifier can also be helpful when trying to clear the air, especially in the bedroom.
Clean carpets and blinds with a HEPA vacuum
Your vacuum should have a HEPA filter which will trap dust mites so you can dispose of them. Be wary of sweeping hard floors, as this will just lift them into the air before they settle on the ground again. Venetian blinds can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth, but fabric blinds may need to be vacuumed.
Steam clean carpets, couches, and mattresses
The most effective way to clean carpets, couches, and mattresses is to use a steam cleaner to kill not only dust mites but also other allergens and bacteria. You may want to consider getting rid of wall to wall carpeting, particularly if you have concrete floors as they produce moisture. A hardwood floor that is regularly cleaned, covered by a washable rug, may be easier to keep dust-free.
Protect your bedding
When buying bedding, consider buying wool as this contains lanolin which repels the dust mites. In addition to being washed every week, your bedding and mattress should be covered with allergen-proof protectors and cases. In fact, it is recommended that dust mite allergy sufferers replace their pillows every six months. Click here for the best hypoallergenic pillows on the market.
Declutter your home
The more furniture and objects you have in your home, the more surface area there is for dust to collect on. Try to declutter your home or invest in storage containers to minimize the available surface area.