As the weather cools off, we spend more and more time indoors, which makes indoor allergy symptoms worse. Here, are my tips to help you minimize dust mite exposure and hence allergy symptoms.
1. Empty and clean all closets and, if possible, store contents elsewhere and seal closets. If this is not possible, 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. If you use linoleum, cement it to the floor.
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.
6. Wash curtains often at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Carpeting makes dust control impossible. Although shag carpets are the worst type for the dust-sensitive person, all carpets trap dust. Therefore, health care experts recommend hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors.
Treating carpets with tannic acid eliminates some dust mite allergen. Tannic acid, however, is Not as effective as removing the carpet from the room.
8. Encase box springs and mattress in a zippered dust-proof or allergen-proof cover.
Scrub bed springs outside the room.
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. Lower temperatures will not kill dust mites. Use a synthetic, such as dacron, mattress pad and pillow.
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. Use only plain, lightweight curtains on the windows.
12. Electrostatic and high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filters can effectively remove many allergens from the air. If functioning improperly, however, electrostatic filters may emit ozone, which can be harmful to your lungs if you have asthma.
13. A dehumidifier may help because house mites need high humidity to live and grow. You should take special care to clean the unit frequently with a weak bleach solution (1 cup bleach in 1 gallon water) or a commercial product to prevent mold growth. Although low humidity may reduce dust mite levels, it might irritate your nose and lungs.
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.