Are you tired of having a stuffy nose at bed time or in the morning when you wake up? Are you spending so much money on tissues that you might as well load up on Procter and Gamble stock? Well then you may be part of the 10% of the population who suffers from dust mite allergy according to Dr. Carmen Choy.
While most people are irritated by exposure to large amounts of dust, true dust allergies are sensitivities to dust mites' poop and their body parts. Dust mites are ubiquitous microscopic creatures that live in our pillows, mattresses, blankets, carpets and other soft material like those beany babies. They feed on our dead skin scales, but they DO NOT BITE, and they are not parasites.
Dust mite allergy is confirmed by skin testing done by an allergist. If the test is positive then you need to "dust proof" your bedroom where you spend a third of your life. Minimalism is the theme, think Zen Bedroom.
- Remove the carpet. It is the most effective way to do manage the dust mites. If you must have a carpet then get the lowest pile, industrial nylon, teflon coated type.
- Vacuum the carpet in your bedroom 3 times a week with a vaccum that has a HEPA filter bag. A HEPA filter does NOT remove dust mites unless somebody has stirred up the dust from the carpet during vacuuming so you need the HEPA bag to catch all the dust. A good $150 vacuum with a HEPA bag in place is just as good as the $1000 Miele vacuum cleaner.
- Encase your pillows, mattress and box springs in allergen impermeable covers to prevent the mite allergens from escaping the mattress and being inhaled.
- Wash beddings in HOT water (not warm) every 2 weeks.
- Remove the redundant soft toys, throw pillow and upholstered furniture.
- Lower the humidity to less than 50% in the room. The mites drink by absorbing water in between their joints so the higher the humidity the more their population grows.
- There are storage mites in books and other house hold items which will cause the same reaction . So if you want to read an old book, put it in plastic bag, freeze it for 24 hours and then you can enjoy it without sneezing at it.
If you cannot remember anything from this blog, just remember to take that vacuum out of the closet and USE it. Just because you can't see some thing doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
References: housedustmite.org for more than you would ever want to know about the dust mite. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Harvard Medical School's Consumer Health Information.
www.missionallergy.com. If you mention Google, a 10% discount will be offered as a courtesy. There is no private interest in this company by the authors. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Photo credit: bedbug.gif