House dust mites live on a diet of skin scales which we shed daily. They thrive in warm and humid environments, living and breeding in our mattress, doona/quilt, pillows, under blankets, carpet and fabric covered furniture items. Approximately 80% of asthmatics are allergic to dust mites. They mainly live and breed in our bedding and mattress. Up to 2 million dust mites can live in a mattress. Each day dust mites produce up to 20 faecal pellets (allergens) and it is these droppings that are the most common cause of dust related allergies. 
Most people who suffer from dust mite allergy find their symptoms are worst at night or in the morning. This is usually a good indicator of dust mite allergy as the most dust mite allergens we are exposed to are in our mattress and bedding. Some of the symptoms of dust mite allergy include: 
 Asthma 
 Eczema 
 Itchy, red, watery eyes 
 Sneezing 
 Tiredness 
 Rhinitis 
 Itchy skin rashes 
 Itchy throat 
 Runny nose 
 A dry cough 
Here is a simple list of measures that can make a huge difference to sufferers of dust mite allergy. 
Primary measures 
 Encase the pillow, mattress and quilt in zip up dedicated dust mite covers. Cotton dust mite covers are now available. 
 Wash the dust mite covers at 60 degrees every 8-12 weeks as this temperature kills dust mites and removes their droppings (dust mite allergens) look for tumble dryable covers as tumble drying can also kill dust mites. 
 Wash normal bed linen regularly, at least every week at 60 degrees. 
Secondary measures 
 Do not allow pets in the bedroom. 
 Use a high quality vacuum cleaner, 
 I.e. install a ducted vacuum system where the allergens are taken outside to the unit. For conventional vacuums use a high efficiency HEPA filter unit. 
 Use a damp or electrostatic duster/wipe when dusting and cleaning surfaces. 
 Replace carpets with wooden or hard floor coverings which are easily cleaned of allergen. 
 Remove curtains and soft furnishings in the bedroom. 
 Avoid fabric-covered furniture, use leather or vinyl coverings. 
 Remove or reduce the amount of soft toys from the bedroom; wash them at 60 degrees or freeze them to kill dust mites. 
 Expose rugs and carpets to direct strong sunlight for more than 3 hours to kill mites. House dust mites are transparent and have no natural protection against sunlight. 
 Sufficiently ventilate dwelling to decrease humidity, a damp house will promote more dust mite and more dust mite allergen. 
The common all year round symptoms of dust mite allergies like asthma, rhinitis and eczema should greatly improve if the above steps are followed. Remember that our indoor air is more responsible for our allergies than the pollution outside. This is a good thing because it means we can control the environment which affects us the most! 
Article Contributed by Alex from AllergEND PLUS 

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