How to Prevent Dust Mite Allergies

14th June 2013, 12:00 AM

Dust mites, which are microscopic organisms that exist in dust and dirt, can often cause allergic reactions, with symptoms that are similar to those of asthma and pollen allergies. By taking a few precautions beyond the normal scope of good housekeeping, you can reduce and prevent the majority of those symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing and watery eyes.


Step 1. Wash all of your bedding on a weekly basis, in hot water that reaches at least 130 degrees. Dust mites live in your bedding, since they can survive by eating the dead skin cells you shed every night in your sleep. By washing your sheets, pillowcases and blankets in water that is too hot for dust mites to survive, you can keep their population numbers under control.

Step 2. Prevent dust mite allergies by using a plastic dust mite encasing that covers your mattress, box springs and even your pillows. New types of dust mite encasings have been developed that are plastic on the inside, and cloth around the outside for a softer, more comfortable feel. Many patients report a significant drop in dust mite allergy and asthma symptoms after using these types of products.

Step 3. Remove wall-to-wall carpeting in your home in order to prevent dust mite allergies. Many sufferers from dust mite allergies also report a sharp decrease in allergy symptom when the carpeting is removed in favor of hardwood flooring. Thanks to gravity, many of your dead skin cells wind up on the floor and carpet, where dust mites can propagate at an exponential rate.

Step 4. Use blinds to cover your windows, as opposed to drapes and curtains made out of cloth. Blinds made from plastic and wood are easier to keep clean and free of dust. And having a home that is free of dust means having a home that is also relatively free of dust mites.

Step 5. Get rid of any stuffed animals that can't be washed in hot water, especially ones that your child may have been sleeping with for years. In many studies, old stuffed animals have been shown to be magnets for dust mite activity. While your children may be heartbroken for a short time, they will thank you later for having improved the quality of their breathing while they sleep.

Tips & Warnings

While air cleaners with HEPA filters may reduce the population of dust mites in your home, you will achieve much more dramatic results by purchasing plastic dust mite encasings for all of your beds.