Dust mites and cockroaches both thrive in humid climates, and efforts to de-humidify (with the use of a de-humidifier and fixing water leaks), as well as following the recommendations outlined above, can be successful in reducing the amounts of these allergens in the home. |
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live in our bedding, pillows and mattresses and eat human dead skin flakes and synthetic materials. Many people can be allergic to dust mite droppings. Luckily, dust mite allergens are typically not airborne; these allergens are heavy and fall to the bed, floor and furniture.
These creatures, present in many homes, are a major cause of year-round indoor allergies. Prevention of exposure to these allergens is usually at least partially successful.
People with allergy to dust mites notice late night and early morning allergic rhinitis symptoms, after inhaling the dust mite particles over several hours. Since dust mites live year-round, the allergy is not typically a seasonal problem.
Avoidance of dust mites includes frequent washing of bedding, in hot water (preferable 130 º F) every week. Other bedding materials such as blankets and comforters should be washed once to twice a month. Decorative pillows and stuffed animals also harbor dust mites, and should be washed frequently or removed from the bed. If the pillow or stuffed toy cannot be submersed in water, these should be placed in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours, and then handwashed in soapy water (it is not the cold that kills the dust mites, but the dryness of the freezer).
Encasing pillows and mattresses in dust mite allergen covers is another important avoidance measure to take. These covers, available at many retailers that offer bedding materials, are impermeable to dust mites, and trap the mites in the pillow and mattress away from the person. The covers are placed over the pillow and mattress, and the bedding is placed other the covers.
Cockroaches are typically present in the kitchen, bathrooms and garage, where food and water sources are available. Removing garbage from the kitchen, keeping pet food in sealed containers, frequent cleaning of counters and kitchen floors, and using bait traps (such as Combat®) in cabinets and behind refrigerators can be helpful in eliminating cockroaches.
Unless you live in Antarctica or in an extremely dry climate, there is probably no practical way to completely rid your home of dust mites. But you can take action to lessen their effects.
Having dust mites doesn't mean that your house isn't clean. In most areas of the world, these creatures are in every house, no matter how immaculate. But it is true that keeping your home as free of dust as possible can lessen dust mite allergy.
Studies show that more dust mites live in the bedroom than anywhere else in the home. So to attack the problem of dust mite allergy, the bedroom is the best place to start.
Unfortunately, vacuuming is not enough to remove mites and mite waste. Up to 95 percent of mites may remain after vacuuming, because they live deep inside the stuffing of sofas, chairs, mattresses, pillows and carpeting.
The first and most important step to reduce dust mites is to cover mattresses and pillows in zippered dust-proof covers. These covers are made of a material with pores too small to let dust mites and their waste product through and are called allergen-impermeable. Plastic or vinyl covers are the least expensive but some people find them uncomfortable. Other fabric allergen impermeable covers can be purchased from allergy supply companies as well as many regular bedding stores.
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