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Fighting Dust Mites

Dust mites are a common allergen that can stuff up your nose, tire you out, and make you sneeze. Here are five easy ways to fight back.

fighting dust mites

Last week my littlest one had allergy skin testing. This was a new one for us. While food allergies have been on our radar for the last three years, we’ve never been referred to an allergy specialist. Instead, four pediatricians in one practice gave me casual — and varied — ideas on how to deal with the results of a blood test done when she was two.

When she had a severe reaction last month after eating something I was told was “okay”, I requested an allergy referral. Call me an overprotective mother, but I want to know better what we’re dealing with, especially with international travel on the horizon.

The skin testing showed no reactions to food allergens, so our next step is a blood test and an in-office challenge. However, in the meantime, we’re tackling with the environmental allergies that did show up. The doctor assumed that these were present based on how congested my girl was when she examined her. The skin test confirmed her suspicions.

Yep, dust mites and weeds are not our friends.

Tactics for fighting dust mites

The doctor, a wonderful mom of four kids, offered some very easy suggestions that I can follow to help relieve my daughter’s allergies. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but I thought I would share these with you. If you or someone in your household suffers from allergies, making these simple changes may help.

washing machine with labels

1. Wash sheets weekly in hot water.

This is my goal, but it doesn’t always happen. I’m going to be more careful not to skip a week from now on.

2. Cover pillows and mattress pads with allergy barriers.

These covers are not cheap, but they can help. Check out this review of anti-allergy bedding from Good Housekeeping for tips on what to look for.

3. Keep books, stuffed animals, rugs, draperies, and other things that might collect dust out of the bedroom.

I guess there was a reason that I lean toward spartan furnishings. Mock me if you will, but lots of stuff can mean lots of dust. The doc said that anything that can easily be wiped down, like blinds instead of curtains, can help reduce allergens.

Lately, the girls have been growing a collection of “stuff” in their room. This past week we cleared it out. They still have access to the toys and books; they just aren’t sleeping in the same room with them.

4. Use a Hepa Air Purifier.

These range in price, starting at $50 for the low end. The doc didn’t think we needed something complicated or expensive. She said to get whatever Target had as long as it said Hepa.

We already had an air purifier, so I moved that one into the girls’ room. Since several other kids and adults in the FishFam struggle with allergies, I will be hunting for low-end machines to use throughout the house.

5. Put Teddy (or other stuffed animals) on ice.

Remember Teddy? Well, the girl loves to sleep with him, cuddle with him, etc. The doctor knew exactly which “bear from Costco” I was talking about. A night in the deep freeze should cure Teddy of his dust mites. Oh my! Good thing I have that BIG freezer. LOL!

So, there you have it. Five quick and easy things to reduce the allergens in your home. If you aren’t allergic to dust mites, then it might not be necessary. I’m not an expert on allergies — yet. But I will be, just you wait.

Since we don’t have pets, the doctor didn’t address the remedies in those situations, though I am sure those add a different set of challenges into the mix.

What do YOU do to combat environmental allergies?

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Comments

  1. My husband just sniffles a bit through Spring and might pop a Sudafed here and there. (I’m not really sure– I’m not that one’s mother. ;) ) Only my youngest has any seasonal allerhges and they seem to be limited to tree pollen and affect her mainly in May and June. Thus far, we haven’t had to do anything to treat them, but she does get pretty stuffy/irritated. I’ve resolved to get more local honey in her diet this year and I’m hoping that will help!

  2. I vacuum and dust weekly sometimes more, wash our sheets and blanket 1-2 times a week and give my dog (a bichon frise–a more allergy friendly breed) weekly baths. It seems like I’m always cleaning but it makes a huge difference. : )

  3. I was tested over 5 years ago and had those allergies plus a few more including cats. We don’t have animals, so that was only an issue when going to other peoples’ homes. I did the shot thing for over a year and then had to quit due to getting pregnant and some question about whether I should do it or not while pregnant (I chose to be overly cautious and quit). I have not gotten back on the shots and still reap benefits from the shots. My allergies are much less severe since the shots were started. I have done the allergy covers for my bedding. I bought the ones Kohl’s has because I could buy them during a sale with a 30% off coupon to help lessen the expense. We also did the air purifier. Ours have all died in the last year and we haven’t replaced them yet. That is on my radar for a purchase when I see a good deal. I would go out and buy them right away if my allergies were as bad as they use to be before treatment.
    I hope and pray that your daughter finds some relief because it can be annoying. I didn’t realize how bad mine were until I saw what was “normal” or at least closer to normal.

  4. Tammy from Ca says:

    We just had 2 kids go to get the skin testing.Ryan allergic to 72 out of 75 .Weeds,trees.birds,horse just about everything that grows up in the high desert. Food just 3 soy,bananas,shell fish.I do everything that you do.It has helped.

  5. Dust is one of my worst allergies My allergist said not to bother with the Hepa filter unless I sleep with it within 3 feet of my head. I do the hot wash, mattress and pillow covers, etc., but with 52 environmental allergies, the shots are what have helped the most. I was getting pneumonia every spring and fall from progressively worse allergy symptoms, but haven’t had it in 3 years. Goodluck, it can be a long battle.

  6. I wash the sheets every week but do you know how often to was the allergen covers on the mattress and pillow? The same? Or she says hopefully… less??

  7. Nancy Johnson says:

    Both my dog Panda and I are allergic to dust mites. We both get weekly shots to help. I am also allergic to my both dogs and cats, but I haven’t been able to give up taking naps with my dogs. Allergies are tough.

  8. Jessica…would you mind sharing her symptoms? Thanks!

    • She has been snuffly for as long as I can remember and has a little bit of the shadows around the eyes that come with allergies. The doc saw it just on a physical exam, and the skin test proved it. We are also doing an OTC allergy med at night now to help with the symptoms.

  9. Saw the fb note about her blood work. One brave little gal …. and mama.

    Not sure if this might help with future blood draws. I’ve been told that I need “butterfly” needles for my small veins. Last time they tried “small” and I figured it was the “bf”. It did not work. The tech then successfully used a “butterfly”. She told me that the “bf” allows them more flexibility. In the future I’ll remember that “small” is not the same as “butterfly”.

  10. celina boulanger says:

    I do not want to discourage you..my son has a severe dust mite allergy…his face and body is always covered in a rash (his poor face is scarred) he takes 3 zyrtek, 1 prescription strength singulair every day and gets weekly shots. his blood test had all of them in a panic…they then knew he was allergy to something in a big way but didn’t know what…and when they did the scratch test within 2 mins it was huuuuuge and the dr freaked and wipped it off. we’ve repaced our couches with leather, desk chairs with leather…ripped out his carpet but in laminate, encased mattress and pillow, ditched comforters for polar fleece (easier to wash..some dust mites will burrow deep in the batting and can survive freezing or hot wash) we wash everything in HOT..no more curtains or blinds..we put frosted mac tac. he has a expensive heap air purifier…and we are NOT making any progress after a year.. :(

    so now, we are ditching the mattress and trying a vinyl air mattress….double encasing his pillow and trying to switch out cases daily as his face is horrendous…the legos will be encased in glass..we will block the vent to the furnace…(and possibly look at a space heater for winter..but we are in Virginia so i’m hopeful. (we are Canadians with a high tolerance for cold)

    we are also going to try ATA I think its called..because his adhd symptoms are horrible and keep getting worse (as do his physical reactions to the allergy..it can’t harm him and may help greatly… he is on risperidone, concerta and paxil…and its not doing much to help.

    if this fails..we will have to find a way to replace the carpet on the stairs, in the hall, then in his sisters room and our room ….($$$$$ eek)

    im sure your journey will be easier…but since there is dust mites every where…it is so hard for us to eliminate the exposure.

    I guess at some point it will be no knick knacks in the house…no picture frames..and no curtains anywhere…or encase him in a bubble…(the bubble seems cheaper and more doable..lol

    I didn’t post this to scare you…I had been debating about it since you posted…but I thought it may help someone else who has tried all these methods and has not made any progress. My son is 10 and has permanent scars on his body and we fear infections from the open wounds on his arms from scratching them….oh and he only uses aquafore for body wash and soap, a special lotion in the morning and 3 prescription creams for his face and body wounds at night… it’ll clear up and a week later we’re back…

    so have faith those out there struggling..i am still trying to solve this issue…

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. That sounds hard, but it also sounds like you are up for the fight. Several of our kids, including the littlest one, had really bad eczema as babies. It was only with the last one that I learned that there’s a link to dust mites. So hard. Hang in there, Mama.

  11. We live near Chicago and whenever symptoms flare up we put the whole mattress outside overnight in the winter. Kinda like freezing the teddy bear!

  12. I Know this thread is old but I wanted to mention some things that have helped us .. use “Allergy Free” laundry soap and dryer towelettes when washing laundry and do a double rinse cycle, get vents in home vacuumed by professional service to remove dust, use high end HEPA allergen filter machine in bedroom, remove all carpets in the house, stop using soaps on skin in case it is also a contact dermatitis allergy and just bathe in water only, use the heavy original Eucerin cream immediately on itchy irritated allergy skin to soothe and calm the irritation (the heavy cream works better than the lotion on eczema and bad spots but both are good), buy new allergy free mattresses and and in case them in dust mite covers.

  13. Another big thing I forgot to include was avoid any scented products for your body, or home, and laundry. Also, know your food allergies…even minor ones if eliminated really help with overall health. We have severe and minor seasonal pollen allergies, contact dermatitis/skin allergies, minor food allergies, and asthma in our family.

  14. Oh and forgot to include …we are super allergic to dust mites too! Thanks for your blog post.

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