Free Allergy and Asthma Resources
Asthma and Dust Control Measures
Back to the Table of Contents page for information on many other subjects!
Be sure to also see the
page on dust mites
, which also cause allergies. Allergan control measures for beds include enclosing the mattress top and sides with a plastic cover or other dust mite impervious covers
, thoroughly vacuuming mattress pillows and the base of the bed. Put an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover over your mattress.
A number of researchers, like those
the University of Nebraska, have studied control measuresand
have a set of recommendations that are proven to be effective. Recommendations focus on "dust control." One must reduce the concentration of dust borne allergens in the living environment by controlling both allergen production and the dust which serves to transport it. For the bedroom environment
you will want to use some or all of the following methods. Many dustmite measures also work well for cockroach allergans. We
have listed them in order of practicality combined with
- The most effective means is to enclose
the mattress top and sides with a plastic cover or other
impervious cover (available here, click on allergy bedding on the left in the new page), thoroughly vacuuming mattress pillows and the base of the bed. Put an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover over your mattress.
This is the method recommended by Consumer Reports (see their article here
). This tip is number one for a reason: it is in your bed
(including the baby's crib) that you are closest to the mites and their feces and enclosing the mattress and pillows in a dust mite cover virtually eliminates the mites here.
Encasement allergy controls, like the bug-proof fitted sheets are very effective and inexpensive
. Mattresses covered with "fitted sheets" help prevent the accumulation of human skin scales on the surface.
These sheets have the advantage of being waterproof, too, which
helps protect your mattress from spills, babies and toddler's
a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, the
researchers recommend investing in hypoallergenic pillows and
- Wash your sheets,
pillows and blankets in very hot water. Wash the
sheets and blankets at least every two weeks. Wash your pillow every week
or put a dust mite-proof cover
(available here) on it and wash once per year. Your pillowcase goes over the
dust mite cover.
How hot is hot? The water used to wash your sheets and blankets should be at least 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Set your washing machine to it's hottest setting. If the water doesn't seem to be coming out hot, you may want to check your hot water heater - you may not realize that most household hot water heaters have a knob that can adjust the temperature of the water it produces. For fabrics that may not be washed in hot water; just pop it into the freezer for 24 to 48 hours to kill dust mites.
- When traveling, Take your own pillowcases
- When you stay in hotels (or with less hygienic friends and family): Take a
dust mite impervious mattress (available here)
pillow case cover
along for when you stay at hotels - just think how disgusting their pillows must be!
- Clean weekly: Weekly change pillowcases, sheets, and under blankets, and vacuum the bed base and around the covered mattress. Clean flooring: Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth or broom, since this just stirs up mite allergens.When
vacuuming, wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling allergens. Then
stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes afterwards to allow
any dust and allergens to settle.
Clean daily: Daily damp dust the plastic mattress cover.
Frequently wash all bedding (blankets, mattress pads and comforters) in hot water (130 degrees F [or 60 degrees C] weekly).
Cold and warm water won't kill mites. Also wash curtains.
- Steam clean surfaces and materials that cannot put put
through the washing machine: Using pure steam dissolves
dirt and grime, while removing germs and bacteria from the
surfaces that you're cleaning. Steam is also an economical and
environmentally friendly thing to do. There is no longer the
need to use harsh and toxic chemicals. It is also a great way to
kill dust mites and bed bugs. See this steam cleaner:
New Vapamore MR100 Primo Steam Cleaner.
install laminate flooring, wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor covering. Remove cloth drapes and blinds. (If you have carpet, vacuum every day.) Vacuuming your carpets and upholstery every week can help.
See the caution about vacuuming below under tips. Vacuums with high-efficiency filters pick up more dust mites, but even standard vacuums work well enough.
- Air Purifiers: While it is better to stop the dust mites
at the source, reducing the dust levels in the air is a good
secondary measure. Some pest control firms sell air purifiers to eliminate the food source of house dust mites. Although ozone air purifiers emit a low level of ozone (activated oxygen) that attaches to fungus, mold, and bacteria on skin flakes, EHSO does not recommend ozone generators (neither does the US Food and Drug Administration). The same ozone that is oxidizes the dust mites is bad for your health. Air purifiers that use HEPA
filtration are more effective and safe to use. Various types of air purifiers can be attached to the central air return to decrease irritants. Most filters remove 50 to 70 percent of material. HEPA filters will remove up to 99 percent of the material;
not just dust mite feces, but also all types of other allergens,
like animal dander, dust, pollen, cockroach feces, etc...
See this page for
information about selecting an air purifier.
- Furnace Air Filters: Clean
or replace the air filters on your furnace or air conditioner at
least once a month. Filters that are rated to trap allergens are
obviously more effective than plain spun glass.You can find them
at Home Depot, WalMart, Lowes and, you can find the top rated
ones in many sizes on Amazon here:
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1900, 16 x 25 x 1-Inches
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction HVAC Air Filter, MPR 1900, 14 x 24 x 1-Inches
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Reduction HVAC Air Filter, Exclusive 3-in-1 Electrostatic 3M Technology, MPR 1500, 14 x 14 x 1-Inches
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Reduction AC Furnace Air Filter, Captures Pollen & Pet Dander, Protects your System, MPR 1500, 12 x 12 x 1-Inches
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Reduction AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1500, 20 x 30 x 1-Inches
Allergen Defense AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1000, 20 x 20 x