Perennial/All Year Allergies - Dust Mites and Mold
People who suffer from perennial, or all year allergies have:
Itchy eyes and tearing all or most of the year
The allergens that cause these problems are mostly indoor allergens like dust mites, pet allergens, and mold. Depending on where you live some pollen can cause symptoms most of the year. For example, grass pollen in Israel and in Southern parts of the US can cause problems from 8-10 months per year.
The focus of this post are 2 major indoor allergens – Dust mites and Mold.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are one of the main components of house dust. They are the microscopic insects that eat the skin cells that we shed.
Where are they found?
They are found in every continent, except for North and South poles and in every building – including homes, offices and even hospitals.
What we can do to minimize Dust Mites? Can we get rid of them?
Even though we can’t get rid of dust mites we can minimize the amount of dust mites in our
homes. Because they need moisture to grow, they are rarely found in dust on horizontal surfaces like tables and wood. They are found mainly in beds, sofas, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.
What can reduce Dust Mites?
Washing sheets in hot water every week - 60 C (100 F) kills dust mites.
Decreasing amounts of upholstered furniture, carpets and drapes and replacing them with surfaces that can be wiped with a damp cloth or mopped.
Putting stuffed toys into closets with doors. Putting them in the dryer on the hot cycle weekly.
Additional things to do that may be helpful are dust mite protective covers for mattresses, pillows and comforters. These covers are composed to tightly woven synthetic fabric that prevents moisture from the air getting to the mattress. Dust mites’ source of water is the moisture from the air. Less moisture, less dust mites.
Even though recent studies in medical journals did not show that they were effective at
reducing patient’s symptoms, I still recommend them to my patients. Since they decrease
the amount of dust mites they may decrease patients’ allergy symptoms with longer use.
Stay away from chemical sprays to decrease dust mites.
They may decrease the amount of dust mites immediately after use, however they contain
strong chemicals that can be irritating to the airway.
BOTTOM LINE WITH DUST MITE AVOIDANCE
WASH IT, WIPE IT OR COVER IT!
Anything else try to remove from your home and especially from your bedroom.
Another major indoor allergen is MOLD.
Mold spores that we inhale can cause respiratory and allergy symptoms. Many molds can cause allergies. Molds are usually found outdoors and make their way inside when there are leaks, or water damage. If you smell a musty smell or certainly if you see any mold growing, it means there are mold spores in the air.
What to do if you see mold?
If it is a small area like the bathroom, clean the area with bleach. Bleach kills mold. Prevent mold from coming back by making sure the area is well ventilated. If you have a leaky roof, wall, or a plumbing leak – damaged wood and sheetrock need to be removed. The mold needs to be professionally cleaned and the source of leak repaired.