Fast Five Quiz: Allergy Triggers

Praveen Buddiga, MD

Disclosures

August 23, 2019

Dust mites have 90%-98% mortality in washing. Residential hot water should be set below 49°C (120°F), given the effectiveness of killing dust mites at lower temperatures, to prevent scalding.

In the home, dust mites typically infest objects that contain fabrics; for example, higher concentrations of mites are found in pillows, box springs, mattresses, bedding, carpets, throw rugs, drapery, stuffed animals, and upholstered furniture. Higher concentrations are usually found in older homes, in areas of high humidity, and in homes with heating units other than forced air. Cold, dry air at high altitudes is not conducive to dust mite growth.

Dust mites depend on a humid environment to live, so reducing the relative humidity level to less than 50% can be helpful. However, a level low enough to effectively restrict mite population growth is difficult to maintain in most places. Central dehumidifiers are expensive and are not very effective, particularly in areas that have a high humidity all year. Bedroom dehumidifiers are not effective and are not recommended for routine use.

Air purifiers alone are not useful for dust mite allergen control because dust mites do not remain airborne for long periods of time. Although they may provide some benefit, clinical data have not proven that the use of air purifiers alone is sufficient for dust mite control.

Read more about dust mite–related allergies.

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