Spring cleaning to stop dust mites

Dust mite allergies

Spring cleaning to stop dust mites

It’s March which means spring is upon us. Hooray! But let’s not get overexcited. The snowy weather here in the UK says anything other than “spring”. But while the weather catches up with the calendar, you may have found that the dirt in your house has caught up to your allergies. It’s time for a spring clean. For people with house dust mite allergies, deep cleaning your home can be both a solution and trigger for your symptoms. But, there are ways to minimise the risk of an allergic reaction during cleaning, and in the long run.

Mighty mites

Allergic reactions to house dust mites are different from other bugs, and are caused by hypersensitivity to proteins in the excretions of dust mites. These reactions manifest as rhinitis, asthma, eczema, or atopic dermatitis. For those with dust mite allergies, it’s important to take steps to reduce exposure to the critters in the home.

Research estimates that dust mite allergens trigger 50% of asthma sufferers and there are 65 to 130 million people worldwide who are sensitive to house dust mites. This is an estimate. Many people who are sensitive to house dust mites might not even know. The mites are microscopic. So, even if your house looks clean, there are often micro-habitats within the home allowing them to prevail.

Although eliminating house dust mites from your home is near impossible, a deep, thorough spring clean could reduce their numbers, allowing you to be free from allergy symptoms. Dust mites love warm, slightly humid areas. They feed off the dead skin cells we shed throughout our homes. This means our bedding and mattresses are dust mite heaven, as they provide these perfect conditions. During your spring clean you should wash all your bedding, sheets, blankets, throws and curtains at temperatures above 55°C to kill the mites and reduce allergens.

Other steps to take

It is better to have hard floors if you have dust mite allergies. Hard floors do not provide a hospitable environment for house dust mites like carpets do. If you do have carpet in your home, using a hoover with a HEPA filter stops the dispersion of dust into the air and around your home unlike with regular vacuums. If you want to wash your carpet, it’s good to use steam-cleaning. One Scottish study showed an 87% drop in the concentration of dust mites per gram of dust after carpets were steam cleaned.

When removing dust, use a damp cloth. Removing dust in your home will reduce your exposure to allergens but dry dusting will spread the allergens into the air. This leaves you at risk of an allergic reaction. To further minimise this risk, wear an allergy mask during cleaning. This will stop any allergens in the air getting into your lungs and causing a reaction.

Sometimes, even these spring cleaning methods are not enough to rid you of your dust mite allergy symptoms. You may need to take further action. Desensitisation immunotherapy to house dust mite allergens is one possible solution to improve your quality of life. Find out more about the treatments available for your dust mite allergies by booking an appointment with one of our specialist consultants today.

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