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.