Dust allergy can cause nasal congestion, drainage, irritation, itching, and the blockage. This, according to several studies, is one of the common causes of discontinuation of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy.
Dust mites are ubiquitous in regions with high humidity. Mites need moisture and human dander for survival. High levels of mites can be found in dust from mattresses, pillows, carpets, bed covers, clothes, and soft toys.
Here, are my tips to help you minimize dust mite exposure and hence allergy symptoms.
1. Empty and clean all closets. Keep clothing in zippered plastic bags and shoes in boxes off the floor.
2. Remove carpeting, if possible.
3. Clean and scrub the woodwork and floors thoroughly to remove all traces of dust. Wipe wood, tile, or linoleum floors with water, wax, or oil.
4. Wear a filter mask when cleaning.
5. Clean the room thoroughly and completely once a week. Clean floors, furniture, tops of doors, window frames and sills, etc., with a damp cloth or oil mop. Carefully vacuum carpet and upholstery regularly. Use a special filter in the vacuum. Wear an N95 filter mask while dusting, sweeping or vacuuming.
6. Wash curtains often at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Carpeting makes dust control impossible. Therefore, health care experts recommend hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. Treating carpets with tannic acid eliminates some dust mite allergen.
8. Encase box springs and mattress in a zippered dust-proof or allergen-proof cover.
9. 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.
10. Avoid fuzzy wool blankets or feather- or wool-stuffed comforters and mattress pads.
11. Keep furniture and furnishings to a minimum. Avoid upholstered furniture and blinds. Use only a wooden or metal chair that can be scrubbed.
12. High-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filters can effectively remove many allergens from the air. Install a high-efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in the furnace and the air conditioning unit.
13. Keep the humidity level below 55 percent because house mites need high humidity to live and grow.
14. 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.
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 the effort.
Sleep Well, Breathe Well.