According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, although it is nearly impossible to eliminate dust and dust mites from your home there are steps you could take to minimize your exposure to these types of allergies, including:
- Opt for wood flooring over wall-to-wall carpets when possible, especially in bedrooms.
- Clean your house regularly, using a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter. If you are allergic, wear an N95 filter mask while dusting, sweeping or vacuuming. (It can take more than two hours for the dust to settle after a thorough cleaning—so, if possible, clean when the allergic patient is away, and avoid cleaning the bedroom of an allergic person at night.)
- Use “mite-proof” cases on your mattresses and pillows. Wash all bed linens regularly, using hot water.
- Use HEPA filters to trap dust mites and other allergens, especially in the allergic persons’ bedroom. Change the filters every three months to ensure they remain effective.
- Keep pets out of the allergic person’s bedroom.
- Keep all unrefrigerated food covered; dispose of food waste in a tightly sealed garbage can.
- If cockroaches are a known problem, use roach traps and schedule regular visits by a professional pest control service.
- Install a high-efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in the furnace and the air conditioning unit. Leave the fan on to create a “whole house” air filter that removes particulates. Change the filter at least every three months (with the change of the seasons) to keep the air clean year-round. Have your heating and air conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.
- Get in the habit of using a hygrometer to measure the humidity in your home; keep the humidity level below 55 percent. If you live in a humid or sticky climate, you may find it helpful to use a dehumidifier. You may use a vent fan for removing moisture in bathrooms and the kitchen. Repairing all water leaks will also help keep moisture away.
- Vacuuming and dusting are not enough to remove dust mites, because these creatures can live deep inside your upholstery, mattresses, carpets, etc. You can cover mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture with zippered dust-proof covers – the material of these covers is designed with pores that are too small for dust mites to pass through. Wash sheets, blankets and other bedding every week in hot water (no more than 120°F) to kill dust mites. Replace carpeting with hard flooring and avoid plush rugs, fabric draperies, and anything else that cannot easily be washed regularly.
- Clean hard surfaces with a wet mop or cloth to avoid stirring dry allergens up into the air.
Reposted from the ACAAI’s website with expressed consent.