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How to Fight Dust Mite Allergies

Like a lot of Americans I found myself facing bad allergies especially in the middle of the night. After going to an allergy doctor and having an allergy test done I was told I was allergic to dust mites.

I knew dust mites could be a problem. We wash our blankets and sheets once a week just for that reason, but it wasn't enough. We had to buy allergy covers for our pillows and mattress. So far so good. I've been able to sleep the entire night away without having an hour's sleep interrupted by nose blowing. We've also started washing our blankets twice a week now instead of just once. Be careful about vinyl coverings though, if they smell too strong it can give you headaches and keep you awake.

The allergy doctor did offer allergy shots if you are thinking about that option, but consider you may have to take them for up to 4 years. My doctor advised me the shots would start with 2-3 shots a week for 3 months, and eventually go to once a week. Four years is a lot of commitment though. I've opted for working on making my surroundings more free of dust mites verses the shots.

How Do Dust Mites Cause Allergies

It's interesting how something so tiny it would take a magnifying glass to see can cause such havoc with a person's allergies. The dust mite actually causes our allergies primarily by it's feces it excretes thanks to the meals it obtains from our flaked off skin. Humans shed creating dust particles that the little bugs love to eat. Gross if you think about how those little boogers are crawling all over your pillow right next to your face isn't it?

Dust Mite Facts

These were found at wikipedia. Allergens produced by house dust mites are among the most common triggers of asthma. Studies have shown the mean attributable fraction of adult asthma due to atopic sensitization was 30% and 18% for sensitization to dust mites. Taken into consideration this could mean as many as 1.2 billion people could have some form of chronic sensitization to dust mites.

Typical symptoms of house dust mite allergies are itchiness, sneezing, inflamed or infected eczema, watering/reddening eyes, sneezing repeatedly and frequently; e.g., on waking up sneezing 10 or more times, runny nose and clogging in the lungs.

The environment of bedding is optimal for most dust mites, and comparative studies have shown that the density of dust mites in mattresses to be on average greater than 2500/gram of dust. Cleaning beds with most vacuum cleaners will not remove dust mite allergens, but instead throw them into the air and increase their volatility.

Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate powder is often used to eradicate house dust mites.

A simple washing will remove most of the waste matter. Exposure to temperatures over 60 C (140 F) for a period of one hour or freezing, exposure to temperatures below 0 C (32 F), will typically prove fatal to house dust mites; a relative humidity less than 50% may also be fatal. Ten minutes in a household clothes dryer at lethal temperatures has been shown to be sufficient to kill all the dust mites in bedding. House dust mites reproduce quickly enough that their effect on human health can be significant.

As dust mites like warm, fluffy furniture and materials, they are most likely to be found on beds, couches, carpets, rugs, toys, and curtains. Washing will not completely remove all mites or their droppings, but it will remove at least 90%. It is best to have a carpet free house if dust mites or any house pests are dangerous for a person (e.g., because of their allergy), as flat surfaces are easier to clean and vacuum. If a person is allergic to dust mites, anti-mite mattresses or mattresses which prevent any house pests should be used. Regular cleaning and washing of areas where dust mites thrive is necessary to keep them and their waste to a minimum.

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