People who suffer from asthma, emphysema and other breathing problems, or who have allergies to dust mites, molds, pollen and mildew can increase their comfort indoors and alleviate symptoms by taking particular steps. These are some suggestions to try but, as always, see a personal physician or allergy specialist for medical assistance when needed.
Wash bed linens in water at least 130 degrees to kill dust mites.
Use special laundry additives that kill dust mites in water less than 130 degrees.
Wash pillows in hot water every 2 weeks or cover them with zippered allergen-impermeable covers. Use polyester-filled pillows, not foam rubber, and replace them every year.
Cover mattresses in allergen-impermeable covers.
Have wood, tile, linoleum or laminate floors instead of carpet, especially in sleeping areas.
Have wood, leather, plastic or vinyl furniture instead of upholstered furniture throughout the home.
Use shades on windows instead of drapes, curtains and blinds.
Avoid fabrics, throw pillows, throw rugs.
Keep home free from stuffed animals, wall hangings, posters that collect dust.
Maintain a humidity level below 50 percent in the home or dust mites will thrive. Only use a humidifier when the humidity level drops below 25 percent. Purchase a humidity gauge.
Have special filters installed on HVAC systems and replace filters regularly. Look for the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) between 6 and 12. Filters can be added to vents but may affect system efficiency. Room air filters like the HoMedics Brethe Air Cleaner, reported to have five times the strength of a HEPA filter, help keep indoor air dust allergen levels low, especially important in bedrooms.
Do not have open shelves or closets with curtains. Keep books inside covered bookcases, preferably not in the bedroom. Keep clothing inside closed drawers and closets.
Treat required non washable linens such as comforters every two weeks with products that neutralize allergens.
Keep pets outside if you must have them.
Keep windows closed so pollen and other air pollutants remain outside.
Dry clothes in a clothes dryer. Do not hang them outside.
When coming inside from outdoors, shower, wash hair and change clothes, putting previous clothing in enclosed laundry bin.
Use a non-bleach mold inhibitor to clean areas where mold is likely to form in dark, warm humid areas such as bathroom walls and showers, tile grouting, refrigerators, air conditioners, humidifiers, vaporizers, window frames, basements, garbage containers, shoe storage containers, concrete areas, under sinks, around toilets, washing machines, and garages. Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting inside the home.
Avoid locating sleeping areas underground as in basements.
Get leaking plumbing repaired and replace any wet building material.
A new treatment for house dust mite asthma was discussed on the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology website in May 2014.