house dust contain cockroaches?
As unappealing as it seems, some houses do have dust that
contains parts of cockroaches. This is most common in older,
multi-family housing. Allergic individuals, particularly
those with asthma, will tend to have increased symptoms
when they go into such houses. Cockroaches require food
and moisture to survive, so eliminating sources of each
can help reduce exposure.
house dust allergy seasonal?
Mite allergen levels are lowest in late spring. Some dust
mite-sensitive people report that their symptoms get worse
during the winter. That's because mite faecal particles
and pieces of dead mites, both of which trigger dust mite
allergy, are still present. Mold levels tend to peak during
the summer months depending on where you live since some
tropical areas have molds year-round. There is also evidence
that cockroaches have a seasonal pattern, peaking in the
heating systems tend to blow dust particles into the air.
As they dry out over time, even more of the particles become
airborne. This does not account for the seasonal pattern,
however, since air blows through the same ducts during the
summer when air conditioning is used. People may have fewer
symptoms from house-dust exposure during the summer because
they spend more time outdoors.
do I know if I have house dust allergy?
If you think you may have an allergy to house dust, consult
an allergist-immunologist. To pinpoint the cause of your
symptoms, the allergist may ask questions about your work
and home environments, eating habits, family medical history,
frequency and severity of symptoms, exposure to pets and
a variety of other questions. Your allergist may test you
for allergy by doing skin tests, which involves pricking
the skin or injecting it with different allergens and observing
for a reaction. A positive reaction (a raised welt with
redness around it) may indicate that you are allergic to
that allergen. Occasionally, your allergist may order a
blood test instead of the skin test to confirm the diagnosis
can I do to relieve house dust allergy symptoms?
The three basic treatments for dust mite allergy are:
* Dust mite avoidance
* Prescription medications
* Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
* House dust avoidance works best to relieve symptoms.
do I avoid house dust?
Environmental control of house dust exposure is
best done if you know what allergens present in your home's
dust are causing the problem. Dust mites can be difficult
to remove completely from your home. However, you can follow
certain anti-mite procedures that will reduce mite populations
and your exposure to them, thereby reducing your symptoms.
Some of these procedures are difficult and you may not need
to do them all.
Special Attention to Bedrooms. On average, people spend
one-third of their lives in the bedroom. Studies have shown
that, of all the rooms in the home, the bedroom often contains
the most dust mites. Con
centrate efforts in the bedroom of the dust-sensitive person.
Select non-allergic, washable bedding materials.
Rather than pillows stuffed with feathers, down, kapok or
foam rubber, use pillows stuffed with synthetic materials.
Get special casings (plastic or rubberized fabric) that
zip around mattresses, box springs and pillows. These limit
your exposure to dust mite particles. Avoid bulky comforters
and chenille bedspreads. Use washable blankets and spreads,
and wash all bedding (including pillows without cases) every
week to 10 days, using hot water.
If possible, install a room air conditioner
and dehumidifier in the bedroom if the home does not have
central air-conditioning. Lowering humidity reduces the
number of mites, mold and cockroaches. Avoid using vaporizers
Place a filter made of cheesecloth under
the faceplate of the bedroom-heating vent to help prevent
the circulation of dust into the bedroom air and change
Hang clothes in a closet and keep the closet
door closed, or put them into dresser drawers.
Get rid of stuffed animals or use washable
ones. Never allow pets in the bedroom. Reduce surface dust.
Clean your home thoroughly on a regular
basis (particularly the bedrooms). Vacuum frequently and
dust with a damp or oiled cloth. Ideally, someone other
than the dust-sensitive person should clean, but if this
is impossible, wear a mask. Vacuuming can raise a cloud
of dust. Special vacuum cleaner bags for trapping dust are
available, and for some patients a central vacuum system
may be advisable.
You may need to remove carpeting, especially
in the bedroom. Carpeting is a breeding ground for dust
mites. If you must have carpeting, select a type with low
pile. Scatter rugs that can be washed each week are a better
alternative. Wood floors, seamless vinyl or linoleum floor
coverings are best because they can be cleaned easily and
thoroughly, and mites don't like to live on uncarpeted floors.
You may need to remove any items that tend
to collect or hold dust and replace them with easy-to-clean
items. Use wooden, leather or plastic-covered sofas and
chairs instead of upholstered furniture. Select closed bookcases
and curio cabinets instead of open shelves. Books and knickknacks
are dust collectors. Use washable curtains or window shades
instead of venetian blinds and heavy draperies. Choose furniture
with simple, clean designs instead of ornately carved pieces.
Select easily cleaned decorations instead of dried-flower
arrangements, wall hangings and straw baskets.
Use air-conditioning to keep inside humidity
at 50 percent or lower to slow the growth of dust mites
and molds during warm weather months. An inexpensive hygrometer
will help you monitor humidity.
Change or clean air-conditioner and furnace filters often.
What products are
available to get rid of dust mites?
Certain chemicals kill dust mites or inactivate dust mite
allergens. They are expensive and some products can be respiratory
irritants for some people. In general, their use is reserved
for situations when the above measures have been tried and
Tannic acid destroys mite allergens but
does not kill the mites themselves, so its effect is temporary.
It can be sprayed on carpets or upholstered furniture to
break down allergen from mites or cat dander. When the allergen
is inactivated, it no longer causes allergy symptoms. Tannic
acid works fast and is easy to use, but its effects do not
last long because mites remain and allergen continues to
build up. This requires frequent application of the product.
Also, tannic acid may stain some carpets and upholstery
so it should be tested in a non-critical area prior to widespread
Benzyl benzoate actually kills mites and
helps remove them and their waste products from carpet.
It comes as a moist powder that needs to be brushed into
carpets, allowed to dry for 8 to 12 hours, and vacuumed
up. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved
this product as safe for home use, and it will not usually
stain carpets. Unlike tannic acid, benzyl benzoate's effect
may be long lasting. After one or two initial applications,
you might be able keep mites and allergy symptoms under
control by using it only once or twice a year.
What if avoiding
dust mites doesn't work for me?
If you follow these procedures but allergy symptoms persist,
your allergist may recommend other treatment methods such
as medications or allergy shots. Consult your allergist
to determine the most effective treatment method for you,
and you can gain control of your dust mite allergy and achieve
relief from allergy symptoms.