A runny nose, scratchy throat, watery eyes and sneezing are symptoms that are all too familiar to people with dust mite allergies. Daily vacuuming and dusting aren’t enough to get rid of these tiny critters. It takes much more work than that. Luckily, relief is possible by creating a household environment that isn’t friendly for dust mites. This keeps dust mites from surviving and thriving in your home.
1. Use zippered dust-proof covers
Research shows that dust mites love the bedroom, where they breed inside the fibres of mattresses, pillows, and bedding. Protect your bedding with dust-proof covers that seal in all the allergens, so you don’t breathe them in while you sleep. These covers are made of very tightly woven fibres that don’t allow room for dust mites to get out. A good cover can trap more than 95% of allergens from dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. You can also purchase hypoallergenic bedding, sheets, pillows, and stuffed toys.
2. Keep the air clean with HEPA filters
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters capture dust mites and their waste and prevent you from inhaling them. Filters that carry the HEPA symbol must meet standards for use in hospitals, cars, planes and homes. By United States standards, HEPA filters must remove 99.97% of particles larger than .3 micrometres.
At home, you can use these filters on your furnace, air conditioning unit, and in your vacuum cleaner. HEPA air purifiers are also available as stand-alone units. With HEPA filters, dust mites get trapped, rather than disperse into the air where you can breathe them in.
3. Wear filtering masks when you clean
Dusting and vacuuming are essential chores to keep your house free from dust mites, but if you have a dust mite allergy, these jobs can be especially uncomfortable. When you clean, dust enters the air, causing you to inhale those same dust mites you are trying to get rid of. This can lead to a runny nose, watery eyes, a scratchy throat or worst case: asthma.
To prevent inhalation, wear a filtering mask while you clean. These lightweight masks can be purchased at your local hardware store in several styles and types. Nasal filters can also help protect you from dust particle exposure when you clean.
4. Starve dust mites with dehumidifiers
Dust mites thrive in humid places, so it’s important to keep humidity levels down in your home. Humidity is the main source of hydration for a dust mite because mites also don’t drink water or urinate. They instead absorb liquids from moist environments through their front leg glands. That’s why they love humid climates.
A dehumidifier will help keep relative humidity levels below 50 percent, which creates an unfriendly environment for dust mites, mildew and mould. Buy multiple dehumidifiers for different areas of your home. If you only have one, put it in your bedroom for the most significant effect.
Dehumidifiers can be purchased at your local hardware store. Make sure to try before you buy. Some dehumidifiers are very noisy, which can cause problems when you sleep. Also look at the energy mark to see how much it will add to your electricity bill.
5. Check humidity levels with a hygrometer
A hygrometer measures the relative humidity in your home. You can use one to help ensure that your home humidity levels are low enough to keep dust mites away. Try to keep levels below 50 percent for the most allergy-friendly environment.
Dehumidifiers will help keep humidity down, but they can only do so much to prevent outside moisture from getting into your home. Unclog your gutters and make sure that downspouts direct rainwater at least three feet away from your house. This will help keep the moisture, and your allergy symptoms, away.
Allergy-friendly products can go a long way toward giving relief to people with dust mite allergies. But be careful what you purchase. Some products claim to help people with allergies but aren’t any different. Look for the “Certified asthma & allergy friendly” mark or buy from klarify.me to make sure you are buying something that works.