Dust Mites: Is Resistance Futile?
Decimating Dust Mites Doesn't Stop Asthma, but Doctors Not Deterred
WebMD News Archive
How to Fight the Mite continued...
"You don't want dust mites in your home, but there may not be techniques
that are helpful," Harrison tells WebMD. "We typically don't target
dust mites because they are so small and don't fit under Orkin's goals for
eradication. But if people ask us to come in, we don't shy away from saying,
'Here are some things that might help.'"
Bernstein says acaricides --
pesticides that target mites -- aren't particularly helpful in reducing
dust-mite allergens. Baumann suggests this is because poison simply turns live
mites into dead mites, which continue to cause allergies while dust mite
But all of the pest and allergy experts who spoke with WebMD agree that
expensive efforts aren't worth the cost.
"People don't need to go out and spend an exorbitant amount of money to
do a good intervention," Bernstein says. "It is simply a matter of
reasonably good hygiene and what you
would do anyway. You would control humidity and vacuum and tidy up the
room and not have a lot of dust-gathering collectibles and hang things up and
put things in drawers."
"Just taking better care of yourself takes care of your allergy,"
Bielory says. "You keep yourself in a cleaner, healthier environment, and
your allergy will improve."
Each of the experts disagrees over details. Bernstein says that mite-proof
mattress and pillow covers are a good idea. Bielory says these products make
the bed uncomfortable and that poorer sleep
is a factor that makes allergy worse. But here's a list of what many experts
say will -- by and large -- reduce your home exposure to dust-mite
- Get white sheets and pillowcases for your bed and wash them every week in
very hot water. Wash the mattress pads and blankets, too.
- Vacuum regularly, but not within two hours of bedtime. A HEPA filter isn't
necessary and may
not help. If you're allergic to dust mites, wear a dust mask while
vacuuming or get out of the house while someone else vacuums. Vacuums raise
residual dust, and you should wait for it to settle.
- Remove stuffed animals and dusty clutter from the bedroom.
- Remove upholstered furniture from the bedroom and from other rooms in which
you spend a lot of time.
- Get a dehumidifier. Dust mites love humidity. Keeping humidity in the 30%
to 50% range helps control dust mites.
- Consider putting mite-blocking covers on your mattress and pillows.
- Consider removing fabric window coverings and replacing them with plastic
- Get rid of tapestries or fabric wall hangings.
- Consider replacing carpeting with tile or wooden floors.
- Do not hire a duct-cleaning service. Dust mites do not live in working
heating and air-conditioning ducts.
- Clean the air filters on your furnace/air conditioner at least once a