House dust is a complex mixture of dirt, animal dander, food particles, furniture fibers and household insects (Such as dust mites and cockroaches). The dust mite represents the most allergenic component of all material found in dust. The dust mite is a microscopic, insect-like creature which can be found in most homes; particularly in mattresses, carpets and upholstered furniture. Its diet consists of the tiny bits of dried skin that we shed. Waste product particles produced by these dust mites are the main substances in house dust to which allergic people react.
If you are allergic to dust mite, you need to pay special attention to the bedroom which most people spend 1/3 of their lives in. The following recommendations can help decrease dust mite exposure in the bedroom:
- Avoid using feather pillows or down comforters.
- Enclose the pillow, mattress and boxsprings in special dust-proof encasings that zip up to give complete enclosure. Newer products are much more comfortable than the crackly plastic covers you may remember from many years ago.
- Wash all bedding in hot water cycle at least every two weeks to eliminate dust mite allergens.
- Eliminate or at least reduce the number of stuffed animals on or near the bed.
- Keep the bedroom free of clutter. Eliminate or minimize books, bookshelves, toys, knickknacks, etc.
- Non-carpeted floors are ideal but if you must have carpeting, try to get tightly woven carpets with a low-pile.
- Vacuum thoroughly and regularly – consider using special “dust proof” HEPA vacuum cleaner bags which are available for most brands of vacuum cleaners.