Dust mites are microscopic
organisms that live in homes and schools. They like warm, humid environments best. Dust
mites feed on the shed scales of human skin that work their way into furniture, carpets,
bedding, and stuffed toys. The bodies and waste products of the dust mite are what
produce allergic reactions and asthma. The mites live in:
- Cat and dog beds
Bedding and pillows
Dust mites are common allergens.
That means they often cause allergic symptoms. They can also worsen symptoms in many
people with asthma. The best way to prevent dust mites is to limit your child's
exposure. If your child is allergic to dust mites, decrease their exposure with the
Beds. Use a wooden or metal
bed frame. Don't let your child sleep on a couch, sofa, or hide-a-bed. If your
child has allergies or asthma and sleeps in a bunk bed, he or she should sleep on
the top bunk.
Mattress and box spring.
Place all mattresses and box springs in zippered, dust-proof covers. These
should have pores that are too small to let the dust mites get into your mattress
and box spring. Tape over the zippers with electrical or duct tape.
Pillows. Put pillows in
zippered, dust-proof covers with pores too small to let the dust mites get into
pillows. Pillows should be made synthetic fiber. Don't use foam, feather, or down
Bedding. Wash all bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets) in hot water (130°F) to kill the dust mites.
Floor coverings. If possible,
remove wall-to-wall carpeting. If not, vacuum the carpet often (at least twice a
Vacuum when your child
is out of the room and won't return for several hours. Try vacuum bags or
vacuums designed to reduce allergens.
Wood, tile, or vinyl flooring without a rug is best. Mop it at least once a week. Small, washable cotton rugs may be used if washed often.