Dust mites are a common occurrence and many people suffer from allergic reactions due to it. It is important to know how to get rid of the same to ensure good health of family members.
Did you know that millions of microscopic creatures live with us in our homes? While most of us live in harmony with them, studies have shown that these tiny dust mites are the chief cause of allergy in U.K. Their droppings carry allergens, which when inhaled can lead to eczema, asthma, and rhinitis. Millions of people are afflicted with dust mite allergy.
Dust mites live in bedding, mattresses, carpets, curtains, and furniture. The tiny insects feed on the flakes of skin that pets and people shed every day and survive best in warm and humid climate. Dust mites can be treated by following certain strategies:
• Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier; it will help maintain humidity at around 50% or below. The mites which are 0.03 mm long require 70 percent humidity to thrive. When the levels of humidity drop below 50 percent, the mites die.
• Your bed is the best living area of the mites. Keep your pillows and mattress in allergen and dust proof impermeable covers. The covers are made of tightly woven fabric that prevents the dust mites from entering these.
• Wash all blankets and bedding in hot water to get rid of the dust mites. If the bedding cannot be washed, put them in the dryer for around 15 minutes at temperature above 130 F to kill the mites. Freezing the non-washable items for around 24 hours is also good to kill the mites.
• Use a damp mop or rag to remove the dust. Do not use a dry cloth as this stirs up the mite allergens.
• Use a mask while vacuuming; this will help prevent inhaling allergens. Also, it is recommended to stay away from the vacuumed area for at least 20 minutes. This will allow the allergens and dust to settle down.
• Do not use bedcovers that trap dust easily and are not easy to clean frequently.
• If you have stuffed toys at home, wash them regularly in hot water and then dry thoroughly. Also, take care to keep stuffed toys away from beds.
• Get rid of clutter: It collects dust and dust mites. Keep the house clean and dust free to reduce the presence of the mites.
• Remove carpets: Carpets are a good habitat for the mites. It is also a good idea to replace the dust-collecting furnishings in bedrooms including upholstered furniture, horizontal blinds, and non-washable curtains.
• You can reduce humidity inside the house by opening the windows to allow ventilation. It is also best to keep the kitchen door closed when you are cooking. Install extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms; this will help wipe off condensation from the sills and windows every day.
• Make sure your bedroom is on the upper floors and not in the basement; concrete is damp and creates the humid, moist environment that is ideal for mites.
• Consider replacing curtains with window shades instead. If you must have the curtains, it is best to wash them in hot water at least once a week or vacuum them well.
• Replace carpets with vinyl or wood flooring.
• Vacuum upholstered furniture. It is good to use furniture made of leather, plastic, metal or wood.
Consult a doctor
It is a good idea to consult your doctor to understand the severity of your or your family member’s condition before making some drastic changes in your home to get rid of mites.
Some symptoms of dust mite allergy include:
• Itchy, runny nose
• Watery, itchy, red eyes
Some people may have symptoms similar to that of asthma. Some of the signs include
• Shortness of breath
The symptoms of dust mite allergy may appear similar to that of a cold. However, if the sneezing lasts long, it is important to consult your doctor. Your doctor will enquire about your symptoms and work and home environment to diagnose to prescribe a dust mites treatment. He or she can also ask you to undergo a skin test to know your triggers. A blood test may also be done for further confirmation.
While proper dust mites’ treatment is helpful to get rid of them, the best way to control the allergies is simple – avoid exposure to dust. Killing the mites and getting rid of dust is the first step in controlling the asthma and allergy symptoms.