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Tell me about Allergies!

Avoiding Dust Mites and Cockroach Dust

Dust mites are microscopic arthropods (bugs) that live on shed human skin flakes.  Anywhere humans are, they are.  Allergy to dust mites is fairly common.  Removing as many of these allergy-triggering dust mites as possible from your environment will make your symptoms better.  The first focus should be making your bedroom and any other are you spend significant amounts of time, as dust-mite-free as possible.  

Fortunately, there are many inexpensive strategies that will minimize your dust mite exposure.  

Mattress and Pillow covers.
If you are going to use only one dust mite control strategy, your choice would be allergy covers for your mattress and pillow.  These are often available at stores such as Walmart and Target.  Here are some online sources that also have some good information about options for mattress and pillow encasing:  Allergy Be Gone, Allergy Guard Direct, National Allergy.

Washing Bed Linens.
Wash Bed Linens at least weekly in hot water (130-140 degrees Farenheit).  For things that can't be washed in hot water, there are laundry additives that will kill dust mites during washing:
Allergy Control, Allergy Store For down comforters and other non-washable, allergy covers are available.  Putting a comforter in the dryer for 20-30 minutes will also decrease the dust mites. 

Dust Mites in Carpet.
Dust Mites love carpet. In the best of worlds, all people with dust mite allergy would have bedroom flooring inhospitable to mites, such as hard wood, vinyl or tile.  When that's not possible, there are treatments available to kill the mites or denature the allergenic proteins: Allergy StoreGreen Depot. Ordinary vacuuming is not particularly effective at removing dust mites.  HEPA vacuums are effective, and adding dry steam cleaning to this is even more effective.  


People are often horrified when I tell them they're allergic to cockroach, and offended by the thought that their home might be dirty enough to harbor cockroaches.  In fact, a lot of exposure to cat, dog, dust mite and cockroach occurs in public places.  If there is obvious cockroach infestation in the home or other building, of course eradication of the cockroaches is an important step.  But even if you've never seen one of these bugs in your home, you may still be getting significant exposure in other settings during the course of your day.  Total avoidance is not possible, so relying on medication to make symptoms better, or on immunotherapy to retrain your immune system become the treatments of choice.