A large proportion of asthma sufferers are affected by house dust mites. It is, therefore, important to concentrate on reducing, as far as possible, contact with dust mites.
One main area where dust mites are plentiful is in the bedroom. We spend somewhere in the region of 1/3 of our lives in bed and this is where the skin we shed provides a staple food supply for the dust mite.
The effects of house dust mites can be reduced in several ways. Beds and bedding are a haven for dust mites. Mattresses and pillows should be encased with microporous covers. These are designed to stop the droppings from getting through but allow air and moisture through. Mattresses and pillows can also be covered in plastic casings - a much cheaper option. But, these can be uncomfortable and can be hot too. Alternatively it is possible to buy non-allergenic pillows and duvets that have been specially treated.
It is better to have bedding (duvets and pillows) made from man made fillings so they can be washed regularly at high temperature. However, it is preferable to have natural sheets and duvet covers in 100% cotton or silk. These are kinder to the skin than other fabrics such as wool, or acrylic as they are soft and cool.It is better to have bedding (duvets and pillows) made from man made fillings so they can be washed regularly at high temperature. However, it is preferable to have natural sheets and duvet covers in 100% cotton or silk. These are kinder to the skin than other fabrics such as wool, or acrylic as they are soft and cool.
There are also a range of sprays available that can be used on mattresses, carpets and curtains to help reduce house dust mite numbers. Always vacuum well before applying the spray and follow the manufacturers guidelines.
Beds can be professionally vacuumed too and there are a number of companies who provide this service.
If you need to use bunk beds with children, avoid putting the child with asthma on the bottom bunk. Movement from the top will disturb the dust mites and make them, and their droppings, airborne.
Information contained in this Articles page has been written by talkhealth based on available medical evidence. Our evidence-based articles are certified by the Information Standard and our sources are available on request. The content is not, though, written by medical professionals and should never be considered a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek medical advice before changing your treatment routine. talkhealth does not endorse any specific products, brands, or treatments.
Information written by the talkhealth team
Last revised: 6 December 2012
Next review: 13 December 2014