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Controlling Dust, Dust Mites, and Other Allergens in Your Home
About this blog
By Health Minute
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas,
Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, nearly 300 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,700 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net .
Although there is no strong evidence that reducing dust and dust mites in your home will reduce symptoms of asthma or allergic reactions, the following steps may be helpful.
Do not use window or attic fans, which bring air containing pollen, mold spores, and other allergens into your home.
Use air conditioning - this will help reduce the amount of pollen and mold spores that enter your home.
Use an air cleaner with a special high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to help remove some allergens and tobacco smoke from the air in your home.
Furniture, carpets, drapes, and bedding
Avoid carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust. Use pillow and mattress covers made from a tight-weave fabric that keeps out dust and mites.
Use furniture made of wood, plastic, leather, or vinyl (including vinyl mattress covers) that you can wipe clean.
Remove rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. If you cannot or do not want to remove carpeting throughout the home, consider removing it only in the bedroom.
Use smaller rugs (throw rugs, area rugs) that you can wash.
Replace drapes and blinds with roll-down shades or washable curtains.
Remove "dust collectors" from bedrooms, such as stuffed toys, wall hangings, books, knickknacks, and artificial flowers.
Avoid wool blankets and down quilts.
Damp-mop hard floors (tile or hardwood, for example) once a day.
Dust and vacuum once or twice a week to remove the buildup of allergens. Use a dry cloth to wipe hard surfaces such as countertops, tables, and other furniture.
Vacuum the carpets and cloth-covered furniture to get rid of as much dust as you can.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a special double-thickness bag, which collects dust-mite particles and pollen. Standard paper bag filters may allow the stirred-up allergens to escape back into the room.
Consider wet-vacuum cleaning when possible. This can help remove allergens from carpeting because it actually washes the carpet. Also, consider steam cleaning carpets when possible. In addition to cleaning the carpet, the heat of the steam kills dust mites.
Controlling dust mites
Dust mites are visible only through a microscope. People are allergic to dust mite droppings, not the dust mites themselves. Allergy to dust mites is a year-round problem.
Keep the house aired out and dry. Dust mites do well where humidity is greater than 50% but do not do well in dry conditions. Plants and fish tanks add to humidity, so keep these out of the bedroom.
Dry vacuuming doesn't pick up dust mites. Consider steam cleaning carpets when possible.
Wash bedding, including pillowcases and mattress covers, in hot water [130°F (54.4°C)] every 1 to 2 weeks. You can also dry bedding at high temperatures.
Adults spend one-third of their time and children spend half of their time in their bedrooms, so it is important that you take steps to prevent allergens in this room.