Your Child's Allergies: Dust Mites
What is a dust mite?
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
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
his or her exposure with the following:
Beds. Use a wooden or metal bed frame. Do not allow your child to 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 with pores 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 of Dacron or other synthetic fiber. Do not
use foam, feather, or "down" pillows.
Bedding. Wash all bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets) in hot water (130°F) to kill the
Floor coverings. If possible, remove wall-to-wall carpeting. If not, vacuum the carpet frequently (at
least twice a week).
Vacuum when your child is out of the room and will not return or 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.