Dust Mite & Mold Avoidance
Environmental control can help alleviate many of the symptoms of allergies. Five major groups of substances in the environment trigger most of the common allergy symptoms. These are:
- Molds (mildew, etc.)
- House-dust mites
- Animal dander
- Pollens (grasses, weeds, trees)
- Cigarette smoke, perfumes, and other chemicals
Below are methods of lessening your exposure to dust mites and mold. Obviously, few people can follow all these instructions, so the most effective are in bold letters. The bedroom should be the "oasis in the desert" and kept as allergy free as possible.
On the bed:
- Use a plastic type enclosed dust mitecasing on the mattress, box springs, and pillows (now available at most large linen stores)
- Use only washable non-wool blankets
- Do not use down comforters
- Use a spring or foam mattress (a waterbed is excellent)
- Wash sheets with very hot water and dry on hot cycle to destroy mites
- Use hypoallergenic synthetic pillows instead of feather pillows if you are not using the dust mite plastic encasements. If you encase the pillow, the type of filling does not matter.
Tile, wood, linoleum or terrazzo floors are much better than carpet. Carpets are the second main dust collector besides the bed. If you can only change one room, it should be the bedroom - remember, you spend one-third of your life sleeping.
Fans are NOT good because they keep the dust circulating.
Air conditioner filters should be changed frequently, special filters may be recommended.
When dusting, use a damp cloth or use Endust. Rooms should be dusted frequently. If doing the dusting, the patient should wear a mask.
No smoking in the house.
Window coverings: window shades are best, washable curtains are good, vertical blinds are okay, mini-blinds get too dusty, and drapery is poor.
Upholstered furniture should be avoided in the bedroom.
Book shelves and other dust catchers should not be in the bedroom.
Stuffed animals should be of the washable type, otherwise keep them out of the bedroom.
Try to prevent mildew and mold growth by keeping rooms dry, especially the bathroom and kitchen. Mold tends to collect in shower stalls and in the garbage bin.
The clothes dryer should be vented outside.
Exterior plants, trees, shrubs, etc. should be kept away from exterior house walls.
Also see our article, "Controlling the Environment."