For asthma and allergy sufferers, nothing is more frustrating that house dust mites. These microscopic eight-legged creature lives on organic matter, such as dead skin cells and thrives in the household environment. These creatures would be perfectly harmless, if so many of us were not allergic to them.

If dust mites are a trigger for your asthma or allergies, there are some things you can do to minimize their effect.

  • Lower your home’s humidity to below 50%, especially in bedrooms.
  • Dust using a wet cloth, as a dry cloth will kick the allergens into the air. Vaccum after you dust, not before.
  • Vacuum regularly with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA air filter, and replace or clean the filter per the manufacturers recommendations.
  • Use an air purifier in bedrooms, and be sure it has a HEPA filter. While some people do recommend ion-generating filters, research has shown that the trace amounts of ozone these filters release into the air can actually trigger asthma attacks.
  • Use barrier covers on mattresses, pillows and other soft furniture.
  • Consider replacing carpeting with hardwood floors
  • Freeze soft toys, such as stuffed animals, for at least six hours every week.
  • Use hot water to wash sheets and pillow cases once per week
  • Wash curtains regularly, or invest in blinds that can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT