Dust and dust mites
Dust and dust mites are found everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that live in beds, carpets, furniture, plush children's toys, and anywhere that dust accumulates.
Both dust and mites can cause allergic reactions and aggravate pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma. Children and toddlers are at greater risk, as they may accidentally swallow or inhale dust during normal daily activities. Exposure to dust mites has also been shown to cause the development of asthma in genetically susceptible children.
Keeping dust levels down reduces your exposure to potentially harmful substances which can be found in dust. Although some amount of dust will always be present in and around our homes, to reduce your exposure you can:
- clean your floors and household surfaces with a damp mop or cloth
- cut down on the clutter in your home so there are fewer places for dust to settle
- vacuum carpets, curtains, and any soft furnishings frequently
- consider installing a central vacuum that is vented outdoors or using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filter that traps small particles
- improve ventilation, reduce indoor moisture and keep relative humidity levels between 35 and 50%
- run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes
- encase pillows and mattresses in house dust mite (HDM)-impermeable covers
- wash linens in hot water weekly
- throw away cushions, mattresses, pillows, stuffed toys or linens that have been wet for an extended period of time or that have been stored in a wet environment
- consider replacing carpets with hard flooring (for example, hardwood, laminate, ceramic, etc.
- children's bedrooms should be on the highest floor of the home and if possible, not in the basement
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