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Home alone with house dust mites

The bedroom is the most allergic room in the house, with house dust mites responsible for most of the problem.

National Charity Allergy UK says among those with an indoor allergy, 77% experience symptoms in the bedroom, while 41% report that their symptoms are actually made worse by that room.

Allergy UK wants to help people better manage the triggers associated with the main culprits for allergens: house dust mites, moulds and pets.

Experts say that the house dust mite causes most of the problems, with 92% of people reacting to them.  Allergy UK says this comes as no surprise as the average person shares a bed with over 2 million house dust mites.  When you consider that the average person spends 52.5 hours each week in the bedroom, the nation is literally sleeping with the enemy.

The house dust mite feeds on human skin scales and requires both warmth and humidity.  Mattresses and pillows provide an ideal habitat.

Lindsey McManus, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Allergy UK says. "House dust mites, like us, need food, water and warmth.  While we sleep, these microscopic creatures absorb moisture from our breath and sweat, feed on our dead skin and thrive in our warm beds".

After the house dust mite, the principle culprits are pet dander and mould.

Allergy UK has a series of tips to help people make their bedrooms a less allergic place to be.  These are:

  • Throw your covers and duvets back every morning, as house dust mites can't stand light
  • Keep the room well ventilated, ensure window frames are free from mould
  • Choose an anti-allergy mattress and bedding or enclose the mattress, duvet and pillows with allergy barrier covers which prevent the escape of the house dust mite allergen
  • Replace curtains with roller blinds or wash curtains each month at temperatures of 60 degrees or above
  • Carpets harbour house dust mites, vacuum frequently using a cleaner that has good suction and a filtered exhaust that does not scatter dust.

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