Dust mites are very common, but for many people, they can cause big problems. These tiny bugs live in nearly every home and survive on old skin cells shed by humans and pets. Dust mites are not usually harmful to humans – they don’t bite or suck blood – their feces and dead bodies are so small that they can be inhaled as dust and in some cases cause allergies. An allergy specialist can determine if you have an allergy to dust mites.
If someone at your home has an allergy to dust mites, you’ll need to try to get rid of many of the mites and remove the source of the irritation. The best place to start is by making the conditions less hospitable to the mites.
This can be done by reducing the humidity in your house; if the humidity level is below 50 percent in your home, you will experience a greatly reduced dust mite population.
Cleaning your house on a regular basis is also important. Make use of a professional upholstery cleaning and carpet cleaning, especially when there are pets in the house. Clean and vacuum your drapery, floors, and upholstery regularly.
Change the bedding on your beds at least each week and wash it in hot water to kill any existing mites. While your sheets are being cleaned, clean and vacuum your mattresses as thoroughly as possible. Dust mites love living in our bedding because we shed millions of skin cells in our beds so this step is especially important for controlling sensitivity.
Use an air filter too, but be sure to use a high-quality filter that can catch the microscopic mites and their byproducts. Don’t use a washable filter because they can actually harbor mites and make the problem worse. Be sure to use appropriate allergy-reducing filters in your furnace as well.
If your sensitivity is more severe, you may have to take more drastic measures. Unfortunately, pets in the home are one of the worst sources of dust mite problems since mites love to feed on their dander. It is impossible to completely eliminate mites when a furry or feathery pet lives in the house. If you can’t find relief through any of the other methods, you may need to find a new home for your pets.
Also, take steps to reduce the attractiveness of your home to mites. Use things such as latex covers on your mattresses, special hypoallergenic pillows, and short-pile carpets. Do not have overstuffed furniture, since this type of furniture can be a good home for dust mites.
These steps may seem drastic, but dust mites are very troublesome to eliminate. You may need to try several of these methods until your reactions decrease. Once you are able to breathe easier and live more comfortably in your own home, you’ll find that your efforts were worth it.