What is a dust mite?

  • A small microscopic insect, not visible to the unaided eye
  • It lives of off the flakes of skin that we shed
  • Can be found in upholstered furniture, carpets, mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals
  • Dust mites require a humid environment to survive

Dust Mite Allergen Avoidance

  • Dust mite covers should be:
                          - Airtight:  Covers the entire mattress or pillow, not just the top, and can be zipped up
                          - It should be made from material with tight enough weave so that the dust mites cannot get in
                          - Non-quilted - dust mites will live in quilting
                          - Breathable comfortable covers sold at:
                                      - Medical Arts Pharmacy 800 Princess St, telephone 613-549-3300
                                      - Allergy Canada

                                   - Protech Allergies

                          - Cheaper plastic or vinyl covers also work, but are less comfortable to sleep on (can put washable/removable   
                            mattress pad
on top for added comfort)

  • Heat kills dust mites:  Wash bed linens once a week in hot water (55 degrees Celsius, but caution if you have children, as this is scalding) and in dryer with heat
  • Cold kills dust mites:  Can put stuffed animals or pillows in freezer (can also put in dryer instead - see above) but washing is best
  • Dryness kills dust mites:  Keep relative humidity less than 50% (use dehumidifier, air conditioning helps) - optimal is 40% (less than 35% is too dry
  • NO carpets (even with vacuuming, carpets retain dust mites)
  • Leather or wooden furniture are also best (dust mites cannot live in them)
  • Vacuum cleaners: vacuuming may stir up the dust mites, a vacuum with a HEPA filter or Central Vacuum helps prevent this
  • Other:
                           - Ascaracides (chemicals that kill dust mites): not yet proven to work
                           - Room air filter: not of benefit.  The dust mite allergen is too heavy to be airborne and effectively filtered

*** Created by Dr. Ellie Tsai MD, FRCPC Kingston Allergy and Asthma 613-546-6673***

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