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white bedroom with door open to bathroom

Allergens

Allergic to Dust Mites?

Here's an Essential Guide on How to Get Rid of Them

Dust Mites

Dust mites: the invisible intruders lurking in the corners of your home and wreaking havoc on your health. These microscopic creatures live in carpets, bedding, and upholstery, feeding on dead skin cells and leaving behind a trail of allergens that can trigger respiratory issues and other allergic reactions. But fear not! In this article, we'll explore effective strategies to keep your space clean and allergy-free.

From regular vacuuming and dusting to using allergen-proof covers and washing linens in hot water, we'll uncover the most efficient ways to banish dust mites from your home. We'll also delve into the importance of maintaining proper humidity levels, as these critters thrive in moist environments. By implementing these practical tips and lifestyle changes, you can create a healthier environment for yourself and your family.

Don't let these uninvited guests take over your space. Take charge of your home's cleanliness and kick those dust mites to the curb. Join us as we reveal the hidden menace in your home and arm you with the knowledge to keep your living space fresh, clean, and allergy-free.

dust mite in carpet with close up showing dust mite

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are small, spider-like creatures that live in soft surfaces. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They thrive in warm, humid environments. Dust mites live in mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets. Since they like warm, moist spots, it's no wonder Antarctica is the only place they don't exist! Their food source is the dead skin cells that people and animals shed. In addition, the feces and body parts of dust mites contain a potent allergen that can cause problems for people who are sensitive to it. Dust mite allergies are among the most common types of allergies, affecting millions worldwide. In addition, they are the most common cause of year-round allergies and asthma. Pro tip: Dust Mites do not bite humans.

Dust mite allergies are among the most common types of allergies, affecting millions worldwide. In addition, they are the most common cause of year-round allergies and asthma

dust mite allergy

A variety of symptoms

Dust mite allergies can manifest in various ways, and it's important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms. The most common symptoms of dust mite allergies include frequent sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, and coughing. Some individuals may also experience wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath, especially if they have underlying respiratory conditions like asthma. These symptoms may worsen when spending time in areas with a high concentration of dust mites, such as bedrooms or living rooms. It's essential to pay attention to any changes in your health or the health of your family members, as prolonged exposure to dust mites can lead to chronic respiratory issues and decreased quality of life. To confirm if dust mites are the cause of your allergies, consult with a healthcare professional who can perform allergy tests. Once you're certain about the triggers, it's time to implement effective cleaning methods and lifestyle changes to minimize the presence of dust mites in your home.

dust mite proof furniture
what furniture is best for dust mites by allergy defender

What about furniture?

One of the most critical considerations for dust mite allergy sufferers is the type of furniture they have in their homes. Upholstered furniture and carpets are ideal breeding grounds for dust mites, so choosing easy-to-clean and dust-resistant furniture is essential. Leather, vinyl, and plastic are excellent choices, as they can be wiped down with a damp cloth and don't harbor dust mites as quickly as other materials. Avoid deep pile carpets and rugs, as they are challenging to clean and can trap dust and allergens. Opt for hardwood floors or low-pile area rugs instead. By making thoughtful choices about the furniture in your home, you can help reduce your exposure to dust mites and other allergens.

dust mites spray
dust mites spray

There are a variety of ways to help get rid of dust mites in your home:

Bedding & mattresses: Our most significant exposure to dust mites will occur in bed since we spend at least eight hours there. So, use a dust mite cover on your mattress and pillows. These covers are designed to create a sterile environment for dust mites and can effectively reduce their population. Another option is to use dust mite-proof sheets when you sleep. These sheets are usually made of silk or polyester and can create a barrier that dust mites cannot penetrate.

Vacuuming: Effectively removes dust mites from your mattress, but it's essential to do it regularly. For best results, vacuum your mattress at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. The ideal time is when you're washing your bedding. Keep the dust mite cover on (see Laundry below for instructions for washing covers).

Dust: Dust weekly with a damp cloth or dust mop.

Humidity levels: Since dust mites thrive in humid environments, keeping the level in your home low can help reduce their population. One way to reduce the humidity in your home is to use a dehumidifier, which can be placed in any room and will reduce the amount of moisture in the air.

Air conditioners also effectively reduce humidity levels in your home; here's how they work. First, air conditioners draw air from your home and pass it over a refrigerant coil. Next, this coil is cooled by a Freon gas, which also causes the air to cool. The cooled air is then blown back into your home. At the same time, the air conditioner also removes moisture from the air. This moisture collects on the evaporator coil, where it is emptied outside your home.

Also, turn on ventilation fans in your kitchen when cooking, your bathroom when bathing, and your laundry room when washing clothes.

By taking these measures, you can reduce the amount of moisture in the air and create a more comfortable environment for you, but not for dust mites.

Laundry: Wash bedding in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) once a week. A dust mite's life cycle is only about two months long, but in that time, a female can lay up to 80 eggs, so hot water and frequent washings are wise ideas.

Carpeting, upholstery: Run your vacuum several times a week. And on upholstered furniture at least once a week. You can try using a HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner. A HEPA filter will help trap dust mites and other allergens, making it easier to keep your home free of them.

Children's toys: A favorite stuffed pet might be hard to get rid of if your child has a dust mite allergy. Wash the stuffed animal in hot water (130 degrees) weekly. If that's not possible, put the stuffed "lovey" in the freezer overnight. This should kill the dust mites.

Hard flooring: Weekly damp mop hard surface floors. Be sure to wipe the corners where dust collects.

Other ideas: Install a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) purifier in your bedroom and in other rooms in your home that you tend to frequent.

Change your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning) filter regularly. Choose a MERV filter (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) rated to help clean your home's air.

Remove carpeting and upholstered furniture in your home if possible.

Remove curtains in your bedroom.

Try an Allergen SprayUse an allergen spray directly on mattresses, soft surfaces, carpeting, and more. Our Allergen Spray is lab verified to reduce dust mites, learn how here.

Frequently asked questions

Are dust mites in every home? You can find detectible levels of dust mites in just about every home.

Do dust mites bite? No, they do not bite humans.

What if I wash my bedding in cold water? We recommend washing all items in hot water around 130-140 degrees.

Do dust mites affect indoor air quality? Yes!

Do dust mites trigger an asthma attack? If you have asthma and a dust mite allergy, you should take precautions. Additionally, dust mites can cause indoor air quality issues for those who have asthma but do not have a dust mite allergy.

What options are available besides shots and medication? There are several options, including immunotherapy and allergen sprays, but it is best to talk with your doctor about your particular allergy and course of treatment.

How can I find an effective Allergen Spray? Look for lab-verified allergen sprays, preferably third-party verified. This means an outside party has tested the product and confirmed that it works to reduce allergens. Also, look for one that doesn't contain harsh chemicals or scents that could add to your allergy burden. Finally, choose one that discloses their ingredients. Our Allergen Spray hits all those marks.

More frequently asked questions

Does dust mite allergen cause any other health issues?
Dust mites can cause health issues such as allergies and asthma attacks, which can be quite common. Allergies caused by dust mites can manifest as various symptoms, including respiratory problems like asthma and skin conditions like eczema if prone to eczema.

What percentage of allergy sufferers are allergic to dust mite allergen?

Approximately 80% of all allergy sufferers are allergic to the dust mite allergen.

What percentage of the population is allergic to dust mite allergen?
At least 10% of the population is allergic to the dust mite allergen.

What are the specific health conditions caused by dust mites?
Dust mites are one of the most common causes of allergies, asthma, and atopic dermatitis (eczema).

What simple steps can I take to reduce dust mites?
Maintain a clean and dust-free environment, regularly wash bedding in hot water, and use allergen-proof covers for mattresses and pillows, to help you minimize the potential health risks associated with dust mites.

What is sublingual immunotherapy for allergies? Sublingual immunotherapy is a type of allergy treatment that involves placing small doses of allergens under the tongue. It works by gradually desensitizing the immune system to specific allergens, helping to reduce allergy symptoms over time.

How does pet dander affect health?Pet dander can have various effects on health, particularly for individuals who have pet allergies. Common symptoms experienced by those allergic to pet dander include hay fever-like symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath.

What are the potential health effects of exposure to pet allergens?Exposure to pet dander and other allergenic components can trigger allergies and lead to respiratory problems such as asthma attacks. Pet allergens are known to cause indoor allergies and can remain airborne for hours, contributing to respiratory issues in sensitive individuals.

What are the other allergenic components present in pets besides pet dander? In addition to pet dander, people can also be allergic to the proteins present in pet saliva, urine, and feces. These proteins can also act as allergens and trigger allergic reactions in individuals.

Which animals shed pet dander? Pet dander comes from skin cells shed by animals with fur or feathers such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, and birds. Animals without fur, like reptiles, amphibians, and fish, do not shed dander.

What are the allergy shot reactions and side effects? Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy injections, can have potential reactions and side effects. These may include local reactions such as redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site. Systemic reactions like sneezing, nasal congestion, and even anaphylaxis are also possible, although rare. It is important to discuss potential reactions and side effects with a healthcare provider before starting allergy shots.

How can one protect themselves against pet dander? Protecting oneself against pet dander involves several key strategies. It is essential to minimize exposure and avoid direct contact with pets if possible. Keep pets off furniture and out of the bedrooms of individuals with allergies. Promptly clean furniture, carpets, and clothing that come into contact with pets to reduce allergen buildup. Ensure hands are washed after touching pets, and consider bathing if there has been direct contact.

To further reduce exposure, brush pets in isolated areas away from individuals with allergies. Establish pet-free zones within the home and use air purifiers to help reduce airborne allergens. Regularly consulting with a healthcare provider is important, as they can recommend appropriate medications such as antihistamines or decongestants. In severe cases, corticosteroids modifiers may be necessary.

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