Dust Mite Prevention

29 April 2020
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Do you have any family member complaining of itchy skin at night?  Does your child suffer from symptoms of repeated sneezing and runny nose? These allergic reactions might have been associated with dust mites.   In Hong Kong allergic rhinitis (or commonly known as nasal allergy) is the second most common chronic disease among children.  While there are various allergy triggers, consumers should not overlook dust mite as a possible source.  You can take an allergen test to ascertain if you are allergic to dust mite.  For those who are allergic, reducing the dust mite population at home and keeping children away from dust mites will be the right moves. 
 
Conditions for growth and development of dust mites
A dust mite is a small arthropod measuring about 0.1 – 0.4mm in size and cannot be detected by naked eyes.  Allergenic protein can be found in the excrement, secretion, eggs and dead bodies of dust mites.  A dust mite has 8 legs with suckers which can grab on to duvet, pillow and mattress, etc., It feeds on skin flakes that people shed, and thrives on the body heat and moisture produced by human through perspiration and exhalation while asleep.  A dark, warm and humid environment is most suitable for the growth of dust mites. And their excrement can cause allergic reaction to certain people.   
 
SMART TIPS” on dust mite prevention
 
- Using dust mite-proof bedding
Dust mites usually exist in bedding items.  The use of dust mite-proof pillow and mattress covers can help in dust mite prevention.  Most of the dust mite-proof bedding create physical barriers against dust mites, e.g., by reducing the pore size / tightening the structure of fabrics through lamination or the use of (woven or unwoven) microfibres, which prevent dust mites from passing through. Some products use special treatment and add certain chemicals (e.g. biocides) to the fibres or fabrics in order to hinder the growth and thus achieve the prevention of dust mites.
  • Pay attention to the cleaning / washing process! The use of hot water and a drying machine can make a big difference. The pore size or biocides content of the fabrics could be affected after multiple washes, thereby reducing the mite-proof capability.  Consumers are advised to cover their dust mite-proof products with washable fabrics for daily care. 
  • Before the use of any dust mite-proof bedding, brush or vacuum the mattress to get rid of hair, skin flakes and dust. In some situation consumers should simply change the mattress.   
- Keeping a clean home environment 
Keeping your home clean and your bedding dry can help in keeping the dust mites away!
  • Use dehumidifier(s) to rid of excess humidity that dust mites survive on.
  • Clean your home regularly with a vacuum cleaner or damp cloth. Try not to use dry cloth, duster or broom in order to avoid air-born dust. 
  • Wash bed linens regularly in hot water at ~60℃.
  • Air pillows, duvets and bed sheets under the sun to reduce dust mites.
  • Keep stuffed toys off your bed and avoid the use of thick curtains and fluffy carpets.  When not in use, place them in plastic bags to prevent dust. 
  • For hygienic reasons and achieving better results, try to use smaller vacuum nozzles which have not been used on the floors. If you have a vacuum cleaner with adjustable suction control, you should start with a low setting first and gradually raise the setting to avoid tearing / grabbing of fabric, especially if the mattress has a soft / fine surface.
 
For more information on the prevention of dust mites, please refer to: