Carpeting makes dust control impossible. Although shag carpets are the worst type to have if you are dust sensitive, all carpets trap dust. Therefore, health care experts recommend hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. Treating carpets with tannic acid eliminates some dust mite allergen. Tannic acid, however, is
- Not as effective as removing the carpet
- Is irritating to some people
- Must be applied repeatedly
Keep only one bed in the bedroom. Most importantly, encase box springs and mattress in a zippered dust-proof or allergen-proof cover. Scrub bed springs outside the room. If you must have a second bed in the room, prepare it in the same manner.
Use only washable materials on the bed. Sheets, blankets, and other bedclothes should be washed frequently in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lower temperatures will not kill dust mites.
- If you set your hot water temperature lower (commonly done to prevent children from scalding themselves), wash items at a laundromat which uses high wash temperatures.
FURNITURE AND FURNISHINGS
Keep furniture and furnishings to a minimum.
- Avoid upholstered furniture and blinds.
- Use only a wooden or metal chair that you can scrub.
- Use only plain, lightweight curtains on the windows.
A dehumidifier may help because house mites need high humidity to live and grow. You should take special care to clean the unit frequently with a disinfectant solution (1 cup vineagar in 1 gallon water) or a commercial product to prevent mold growth. Although low humidity may reduce dust mite levels, it might irritate your nose and lungs.
CHILDREN In addition to the above guidelines, if you are caring for a child who is dust-sensitive
- Keep toys that will accumulate dust out of the child's bedroom
- Avoid stuffed toys
- Use only washable toys of wood, rubber, metal, or plastic
- Store toys in a closed toy box or chest
Keep all animals with fur or feathers out of the bedroom. If you are allergic to dust mites, you could also be allergic or develop an allergy to cats, dogs, or other animals.
Although these steps may seem difficult at first, experience plus habit will make them easier. The results-better breathing, fewer medicines, and greater freedom from allergy and asthma attacks-will be well worth your effort.
Resources: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease
Here's to your health,