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Dust Mite Allergy

Dust Mite Allergy


Updated February 05, 2009

Dust Mite Allergy

To help decrease the amount of dust mites encase mattresses, boxsprings, and pillows with mite-proof covers. Further methods consist of washing bedding once a week in hot water, and dusting with a wet cloth once a week.

Updated February 05, 2009

Dust Mite Allergy

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.

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.

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.

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.

Want to keep learning? Find out how Asian Ladybug allergy may be nearly as common as cockroach and dust mite allergy in the Mid-West and East Coast of the United States.


Dykewicz MS, Fineman S, editors. Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: Complete Guidelines of the Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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