Eight ways to protect yourself
from dust mites
Do dust mites trigger your hayfever symptoms? If so, here’s how to make them unwelcome in your home.
Two min read
House dust mites are too tiny to be seen without a microscope. If you live near the coast, you can be sure there are hundreds of thousands of the ugly humidity-loving critters in your bed, sofa, carpets, curtains and your children’s stuffed toys.
Despite their ominous-looking pincers, dust mites don’t bite. However, they can trigger asthma and hayfever symptoms.
You don’t really need to know this, but dust mites’ favourite food is the dust formed by the dried-out skin flakes that your family and pets shed throughout your home.
Dust mite allergy symptoms
If you have dust mite allergy, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Congested nose
- Sleep disturbance
- Daytime tiredness
- Poor concentration
- Recurrent ear infections in children
- Recurrent sinus infections in adults
- Asthma that is more difficult to control
Even if you take medication for your symptoms, it is best to make your home, and particularly the bedrooms, an inhospitable dust-mite habitat.
Here are eight tips to get you started:
- Wash bedding and stuffed toys once a week in hot water, at least 60 degrees. If you cannot wash items in hot water, try using a commercial product designed to kill dust mites. You can also try placing dried items in a hot tumble dryer for 10 minutes.
- Invest in airtight dust-mite repelling covers for your mattress and pillows and wash the covers every two months.
- Avoid down pillows, doonas and sheepskin or woollen underlays.
- Choose hard floors instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Choose leather, plastic or wood furniture instead of cloth.
- Choose blinds instead of curtains.
- Try to reduce the humidity in your home by ensuring it is well ventilated. Avoid the use of water-cooled air conditioners and unflued gas heaters.
- Vacuum weekly, preferably with a cleaner that has a special filter that prevents dust from being recirculated through your home.