House Dust Mite Sensitivity
House dust mites are tiny insects, about a quarter of a millimetre long that live off human skin scales. They are found in bedding, carpets, soft furnishings and clothing. In people allergic to dust mite, it is often not the mite itself but proteins in their droppings that cause the allergy (1). Showering or washing the affected areas is therefore advisable shortly after getting up in the morning.
Preventative measures include hot washing the bedclothes above 60 degrees centigrade and vacuum cleaning the mattress, bedroom carpet and flooring (1).
Decorator’s polythene sheeting may be used to cover the mattress and carpet under the bed. In addition, the pillow may be encased in polythene and then covered with clean towels and pillowslips. The bedroom should be thoroughly cleaned each week by damp-wiping all surfaces and washing the curtains. Ventilation should be increased to reduce humidity (1).
Dehumidifiers and allergen-proof barrier covers for mattresses, duvets and pillows are available commercially (2).