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Dust Mite Allergy: Reduce Exposure

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This information was reviewed and approved by Sanny Chan, MD (11/1/2016).

Once an allergy has been identified, your healthcare provider may recommend medications or therapies to control symptoms. The next step is environmental control to decrease or eliminate exposure to allergens. Evidence shows that allergy and asthma symptoms may improve over time if the recommended environmental control changes are made. Many of the changes are for the entire home, but the bedroom is the most important because it is where people usually spend a third to half of their time. Environmental control measures to consider include:

  • Enclosing mattresses, pillows and boxsprings in zipped, dust-proof encasings. Dust-proof encasings have a layer of material that holds the dust mites inside. Encasings are usually made of plastic or plastic-like materials. If there are more than one mattress in the bedroom all should be encased. It is recommended that cloth tape be placed over the encasing zipper.
  • Washing all bedding in hot (130° F) water weekly
  • Avoiding lying on upholstered furniture or carpets
  • Remove carpeting from the bedroom. Instead, use area rugs that can be washed.
  • Using wood, leather or vinyl furniture instead of upholstered furniture in the bedroom
  • Vacuuming rugs and carpets frequently. The person with a dust mite allergy should not vacuum or be in a room while it is being vacuumed.
  • Keeping indoor moisture low. The ideal humidity level is 30-40 percent. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in warm climates to decrease the humidity. Clean the dehumidifier regularly.
  • Avoiding the use of humidifiers or vaporizers because they will increase humidity in the room and create a favorable environment for dust mites.
  • Applying an acaricide (a chemical solution that kills mites) regularly to carpeting and upholstered.
  • Applying tannic acid solution to help neutralize the allergen in mite droppings.

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