Dust mites are microscopic pests, which feed on human skin flakes. They inhibit warm and humid places like mattresses, carpets and clothes stacked in a cupboard. Because of their size (250-300 microns), they are not visible to the naked eye. Dust mites cause major allergies and is also considered to be the main factor in most asthma cases. They are also responsible for causing eczema and hay fever. These bugs are not parasitic and it is their feces, which cause allergic reactions. A female mite can lay up to 100 eggs and so over a time, these bugs increase their population drastically. The symptoms of dust mite allergy include sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchiness of the nose. Kids and infants are particularly susceptible to dust mite allergy, which if not treated, can develop into a lifelong allergy. So, it is very necessary that these unwanted guests are shown the door. Below are tips on how you can significantly reduce your house of these fiends.
How To Reduce Dust Mites
- The dust mite allergens are spread through dust so regular cleaning is a must. Keep your house, particularly the bedroom, thoroughly aired and let the sunlight shine in. Dust mites thrive in moist places, so keep the rooms dry and dust free.
- Wash the bed sheets and pillow covers regularly, as dust mites are more prone to breed there. Washing at 55 degree Celsius, kills the dust mite. You can use anti-allergic detergents that neutralize dust mite allergens. Try to use synthetic sheets and pillow covers, rather than cotton.
- Air conditioning is a very good way, to minimize dust mites. It has been found that air conditioned houses have fewer dust mite allergens as the humidity level is less.
- Carpets attract dust mites like magnets. So, remove all wall to wall and floor carpeting, at least from the bedroom. If you insist on keeping, then carpets should be steam-washed regularly. They should also be kept out for regular airing, as underneath the carpet, the conditions are perfect for dust mites to flourish.
- Vacuum cleaning is also another option to reduce dust mite allergen. Since normal vacuum cleaners cannot pick up the micro allergen particles, it is better to use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum cleaner every alternate day.
- Similarly, air filters, other than the High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, are of no use and more often as not act as breeding ground for the mites.
- Furry and feathered pets also attract mites so don’t allow the pets to get on the bed. Remove stuffed animals or soft toys as these attract dust and mites. The soft toys must be washed in hot water every week, if you want to carry them to your bed.
- Hard flooring is the best way in which the dust can be removed. Tiles and vinyl flooring do not provide an inviting atmosphere for the dust mites and is an excellent way to carry on your fight against these pests.
- There are special allergic proof fabrics, which can be used to encase the mattress and pillows thus preventing dust mites from entering. Even plastic or airtight coverings can be used to rid the mites to a certain extent.