Dust Control for Children With Allergies: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Many children are allergic to dust and dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that get into bedding, furniture, and carpets. Dust mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye. When you sit on a chair, walk over a carpet, or lie on a bed, material produced by the mites is blown into the air. When breathed in, these can cause a runny nose, wheezing, and other symptoms.

It is impossible to get rid of dust or dust mites completely, but reducing them in your house may improve your child's allergy symptoms. Keep in mind that some of these measures may be costly. Start by doing what you and your budget can manage. Since your child spends one-third of his or her day in bed, focus on your child's bedroom first.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • The most important thing you can do is decrease the dust around your child's bed:
    • Wash sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding every week in hot water.
    • Use airtight, dust-proof covers for pillows, duvets, and mattresses. Avoid plastic covers because they tend to tear quickly and do not "breathe." Wash according to the instructions.
    • Remove extra blankets and pillows that your child does not need.
    • Use blankets that are machine-washable.
  • Look for "dust catchers" in your child's room. Cloth-covered furniture, heavy drapes, flowers and houseplants, bookshelves, blinds, and stuffed animals collect dust and should be removed or wiped down with a wet cloth every week.
    • Use a wooden or metal chair instead of an upholstered one.
    • If you need to cover the windows, use lightweight curtains. Wash them every week with the bedding.
  • Mop floors and wipe down furniture, tables, and other hard surfaces with a moist cloth 1 or 2 times a week.
  • Change the air filter in your furnace every month. Use high-efficiency air filters.
  • Keep the windows closed.
  • Do not use window or attic fans, which draw dust into the air.
  • Do not use home humidifiers. They can help mites live longer. Your doctor can give you further instructions on how to control dust and mites.
  • Keep only clothes in the closet. Do not leave clothes on the floor.
  • If possible, replace wall-to-wall carpet in bedrooms with tile, hardwood, or linoleum. You can use throw rugs as long as you wash them often. If you cannot remove carpeting, vacuum it at least 2 times a week. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter or a special double-thickness filter. Keep your child out of the room for several hours after you vacuum.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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