Dust Mite Control
1. All mattresses
and box springs in the room should have special dust proof covers, which
encase the mattress on the top and bottom and the four sides. The correct
type of cover is the kind that you slip the mattress into and close with a
zipper. These covers are generally made of plastic or a special impervious
material, and they are available from department and medical supply
stores. Since dust mites or their particles could escape through the
zipper seam, you should seal it shut with wide plastic tape. When you
change the bed, check for leaks or cracks and seal them with tape. For
comfort, you may put a washable quilted top mattress cover on top of the
plastic one. If you always wanted a waterbed (and your house can support
the weight), note that dust mites do not collect in a waterbed mattress.
2. Get washable,
polyester pillows, and take the patient�s pillow along when traveling. Avoid
feather and foam rubber pillows, as they will not be the same after they are
washed. Wash the pillow in very hot water every two or three week to kill
the dust mites. Warm or cold water does not kill the dust mites. Be sure to
dry the pillows completely, or they might grow mildew. If this is not
possible for you, you must encase your pillows with special dust proof
covers. This should be done for all the pillows present on patient�s bed.
3. Wash all bedding
in hot water every 2-3 weeks. Do not use bed linens, mattress covers,
blankets, and spreads that are not washable.
4. Dust mites can
also live in carpets. Benzyl Benzoate kills dust mite and Tannic Acid
inactivates the dust mite proteins. Carpets must be treated with above
chemicals once every two months. When carpet wears out, it is preferable to
replace wall to wall carpeting with tile or linoleum, or to refinish your
hardwood floors. Use small washable area rugs where needed.
5. Remove as many
other sources of dust from the bedroom as possible. This includes
bookshelves and books. As many things as possible in the room should be
washable. Upholstered furniture is not a good idea. Washable curtains are
better than dry-cleanable heavy drapes. Blinds are hard to keep dusted.
Ceiling fans should be cleaned monthly.
6. Washable stuffed
toys should be used, since dust mites would collect in a favorite teddy
bear. Alternatively, remove the stuffing from an older toy, and replace it
with washable stuffing. Collections of stuffed toys should be relocated from
the bedroom to another room or to the closet.
7. The door to the
bedroom and the closet door should be kept closed as much as possible. The
bedroom closet should be used only for clothing in current use.
8. The central
return filter of the heating and air conditioning unit should be changed or
cleaned at least monthly. The circulating fan of the unit can be left on to
optimize filtering capacity. Heating and air conditioning vents for the room
should be covered with cheesecloth, glass wool, or nylon, and this should be
changed monthly. Holes or other openings around pipes, and in the floor and
walls should be sealed permanently.
9. Clean the room
thoroughly with a cloth or a mop dampened with water. Dry dusting will only
scatter dust particles around. Repeat this weekly to keep dust under
control. The patient should be out of the room while this is done, and for
two hours afterward, since any cleaning stirs up some dust mite particles.
An allergic person doing the cleaning should wear a disposable mask that
covers the nose and mouth.
10. Even if the
patient is not presently allergic to animal dander, pets should not be
permitted in the bedroom. Under no circumstances should a pet be allowed to
sleep on the bed of an allergic patient. Remember that people are not born
with allergies, but develop them after exposure.
Other ways of taking care
of dust mites have been proposed. A variety of home air filtration devices
are available. Since dust mite particles are relatively heavy, they quickly
settle out of the air, so these filtration devices are not particularly
useful. Beware of exaggerated claims for appliances that are sold for air
purification. Even ordinary vacuum cleaners have been promoted for
preventing or treating respiratory ailments. Although some air cleaners are
capable of removing dust form the air, much of the dust they remove is
inert, and no air purifier can truthfully be promoted for treating viral or
bacterial illness such as colds, influenza, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.