Health Tip: Avoid Dust Mites in Your Pillow

Bed and pillows

No matter how picky we are about our bunkmates, there will always be unwelcome visitors. Namely, dust mites.

Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in dust and in the fibers of household objects, such as pillows, mattresses, carpet, and upholstery. Dust mites especially love warm environment like your bed, just as much as you do. And since they snack on dead skin cells, they have no reason to leave. The good news: They’re harmless unless you have allergies or asthma.

The symptoms of dust mite allergy are similar to those of pollen allergy. To help manage dust mite allergies, try using dust mite encasements (airtight plastic/polyurethane covers) over pillows, mattresses and box springs. Also, remove carpet, or vacuum frequently, using a vacuum cleaner with high-efficiency filters. To keep their count down, wash your sheets in hot water regularly, and fluff your pillow in the dryer on its hottest setting. Other treatments may include medications to control nasal, eye and chest symptoms. Immunotherapy may be recommended for people whose symptoms are not adequately controlled with avoidance methods and medications.

But be forewarned: At least three to six months of sustained intervention is necessary to show real benefit. That means you should put measures in place that you can sustain over time and expect symptoms to improve gradually.

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