Protecting yourself against Dust Mites

dust mites pillow cover

Are you or anyone in your family experiencing asthma, itchy skin, hives, congestion or cold symptoms? Especially right around this time of year, the answer is probably yes. One culprit could be dust mites – or microscopic pests that feed on dead skin cells. At least 10% of the human population and approximately 80% of allergy sufferers are allergic to these insect-like creatures.

Think that there’s absolutely no way you have dust mites in your home? Think again. Dust mites are virtually everywhere but thrive in warm environments. In fact, hundreds of thousands of them could be living on your bed, carpet or curtains right now. . . no matter how clean you are. The good thing is that dust mites don’t bite, sting or burrow into our bodies. They simply release harmful allergens that irritate a lot of our population.

People with dust mite allergies need to take special care to control them. See our tips below:

Control humidity

Dust mites grow best at 75-80% humidity and can’t survive when the humidity is below 50%. In humid areas, use a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels and in dry areas, open the windows for a little bit each day to remove humidity from the house.

Consider hard floors

Carpet is a breading ground for dust mites. Where possible, consider replacing carpet with hard flooring such as tile, wood or laminate.

Keep your bed covered and clean

Encase your mattress and pillows in allergen-resistant covers. Wash your bedding at least once per week in hot water.

Duct cleaning

If you’ve never cleaned the inside of your air ducts, it may be time to call a professional. Cleaning can help improve the performance of your system and will also help you to control allergens in the air.

Clean with a damp rag

Instead of dusting with a dry cloth, use a damp mop or rag when cleaning. This will effectively remove allergens instead of just moving them around.

Wear a mask while vacuuming

If you do have carpet, vacuum regularly. When vacuuming, consider wearing a mask to prevent dust mite irritations. After vacuuming, leave the room for 20-30 minutes to let any remaining dust settle.

Talk to your HVAC company

Speak with a trusted HVAC technician about the right type of filter for your system. Some of the cheaper filters only trap large particles and won’t effectively help you control dust mites. You may also want to discuss whether or not you need an air purifier and if the airflow and ventilation levels in your home are ideal for allergen control.

Do you have a dust mite allergy? What has helped you to control it?