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House-dust mites

Many people with asthma are sensitive to the droppings of house-dust mites. These are tiny creatures that live in the dust that builds up around the house, in carpets, bedding, soft furnishings and soft toys.

If you know house-dust mites trigger your asthma, you may be able to reduce some of your asthma symptoms by:

  • Using barrier covers on your mattress, duvet and pillows.
  • If possible, remove all carpets and replace them with hard flooring.
  • Vacuum regularly and use a vacuum cleaner that has good suction and a filtered exhaust that does not scatter dust. Change and replace the filter bag of the vacuum cleaner regularly.
  • Ask someone else to vacuum while you stay out of the room. If possible, try to stay out of the room for about two hours after to allow the dust to settle.
  • Use a damp cloth to dust.
  • Remove all soft toys from beds. Put them in a bag in the freezer for a minimum of six hours every one to two weeks to kill house-dust mites.
  • Hot wash (at 60°C) sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases once a week. (Although some people are allergic to feathers there is no conclusive evidence to show that synthetic hypo-allergenic pillows are any better).
  • Use a dehumidifier to dry the air, as this makes it more difficult for the house-dust mites to survive.
  • Good ventilation.

However, evidence for these techniques is not conclusive. If you try these suggestions and it makes no difference to your symptoms, you need no longer continue with them.