There are many household allergens that can contribute to asthma, including dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in dust, and exposure to them can lead to problems like trouble breathing, chest pain, or even severe asthma attacks. Here are three tips for controlling dust mites inside your home.
Get rid of your carpets
Dust mites feed on the discarded skin cells that household dust contains, and anywhere that dust accumulates can become a habitat for dust mites. The fibers of your carpet are a prime location for dust accumulation—and therefore dust mites—and when you walk across your carpet, the dust mite allergens will be stirred up into the air.
To solve this problem, replace your carpets with something that you can sweep and mop. Any type of hard flooring is fine, including porcelain tiles, hardwood, cork or vinyl. If installing a new floor isn't an option, vacuum your existing carpeting with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to ensure that the dust mites are trapped.
Replace draperies with blinds
Curtains and draperies can add character to your home's decor, but when you have a dust mite allergy, these window treatments can pose problems. Just like carpets, curtains collect dust, and this dust then attracts dust mites. Regularly vacuuming and laundering your draperies can help, but this routine can be labor intensive.
Instead, replace your draperies with blinds. The smooth surfaces of blinds are easier to keep dust-free; simply wipe them with a handheld duster to remove dust and dust mites.
Wash your bedding often
The average bed can contain a whopping 1.5 million dust mites, and for people who are allergic to mites, this is a big problem. Why do dust mites like beds so much? Dust mites eat your discarded skin cells, so your sheets are a perfect habitat for them. The warmth and moisture that you create while you sleep also help the dust mites thrive.
To keep these mites under control, you need to wash your bedding frequently. You need to wash your sheets at least once a week—something only 44% of people report doing—and preferably more often. Use hot water to make sure the dust mites are killed.
If dust mites are contributing to your asthma, you need to take steps to reduce the number of mites inside your home. Get rid of your carpets, install blinds, and remember to wash your bedding often.
For more information, contact The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC or a similar location.