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Reducing house dust mites your home

What are house dust mites?

House dust mites are tiny bugs that live in the dust that builds up inside people’s homes. It is the proteins in their waste that causes the allergy.

House dust mites do well in warm, damp, and humid environments and feed off dead skin cells from humans and animals.

Where are they found?

They are mainly found in soft furnishings such as carpets, curtains, mattresses, cushions, and soft toys. 3 months after buying a new cushion, 1 third of its weight can be from house dust mites and their faeces.

What are the symptoms?

There are many symptoms caused by house dust mites and usually fall into four groups.

  • asthma: acute wheeze, cough and shortness of breath
  • eczema: skin irritation, sometimes hives (nettle rash)
  • rhinitis: nasal irritation with sneezing, nasal congestion or runny nose
  • conjunctivitis: eye irritation causing redness, itchy, watery eyes and possible swelling.

Can I remove all house dust mites in my house?

No, this it is not possible to remove all the dust mites from your home. However, there are things you can do to help reduce the amount of house dust mites in your home.

What can I do to remove house dust mites from my house?

It might be good to target the room you most use, such as bedrooms and living areas.

  • de-clutter bedrooms and reduce soft furnishings such as soft toys and cushions to minimise dust
  • dust all hard surfaces weekly
  • hoover carpets and mattresses weekly
  • reduce humidity by opening windows and keeping the bathroom door closed
  • keep the bedroom cooler than the main living areas
  • wash all bedding, curtains and soft toys at 60 degrees Celsius or more
  • place soft toys in a plastic bag in the freezer for 12 hours once a month
  • air the bed by pulling back covers
  • if using bunk beds, sleep on the top bunk
  • allergen proof protectors that encase the mattress, duvet and pillow can be helpful. However, these are expensive so please ask in the clinic
  • other suggestions such as laminate or lino flooring and blinds may not give additional benefit and are expensive.

Will my child’s symptoms be relieved by reducing their exposure to house dust mites?

Some people find these measures extremely helpful but unfortunately this is not the case for everyone. They can also take a lot of time and effort so please do not stress about doing everything every week.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Allergy Nurses: 0114 226 7872
Dermatology Nurses: 0114 226 7850
Respiratory Nurses: 0114 271 7414

Further resources

Asthma UK
Telephone: 01322 619 898

The Anaphylaxis Campaign
Telephone: 01252 542 029

The British Allergy Foundation
Telephone: 02083 038 525

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: ALG20

Resource Type: Article

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