Patient information: Measures to control house dust mite exposure

Up to 40% of the world's population has been diagnosed with an allergic disease. The most prevalent allergy is to house dust mites ( Allergy sufferers often have a difficult time getting a good night rest. This is often due to the fact that allergens (mostly dust mites and their products) may be present in the very bed that you are sleeping in. Dust mites "hide" in your bed linings and mattress and can result in itchy skin, sneezing, running nose, and coughing.

Yellow mite. Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

How do you protect your bed from dust mites? One of approaches is to use a hypoallergenic mattress cover or pad.

Hypoallergenic mattress covers can reduce the amount of dust mite allergens in your bedroom. While a hypoallergenic mattress cover will help reduce the amount of allergens in your bedroom, it is important to remember that this is not a cure by any means. Another way to combat allergies in your bedroom is to make sure that you keep the room as clean as possible and wash your bedding frequently.

Dust mite allergen avoidance. The main allergen is in the dust mite feces. Use 3 control measures for 3-6 months to see an effect on the allergy symptoms (click to enlarge the image).

Measures Used for Dust Mite Control

Physical barriers for dust mite control


- pillows
- mattresses
- box springs
- comforters
- furniture cushions

The simplest covers are made of plastic but they may be uncomfortable to use. Gas permeable fabrics are an alternative to plastic covers.

Benefit of bedding covers (as only intervention) on asthma control has not been well-documented. House dust mite impermeable bedding as an isolated intervention is unlikely to offer benefit (Allergy, 2011).

Decreasing humidity to below 50% reduces mite growth. The best method is air conditioning in a humid climate. Upper floors are less humid. Patients allergic to HDM have less symptoms on 2nd floor.

After washing, bedding should be dried in a dryer on a hot setting.

In 50% of the reported trials, dust mite avoidance failed -- the measures did not decrease allergen exposure for a significant period of time.

You need at least 3 methods for 3 months minimum:

Physical measures for 3-6 months:

- pillow covers
- mattress covers
- washing bedding in hot water/dryer
- carpet removal


Indoor Allergen Avoidance
Dust mites: Lifestyle and home remedies - Excellent summary by Mayo Clinic.
There's an entire industry making asthma and allergy products - but do they work?
House dust mite impermeable bedding as an isolated intervention is unlikely to offer benefit (Allergy, 2011).
The efficacy of dust mite covers and hot water wash environmental control procedures
Where are highest concentrations of dust mites found in home? Pillows, stuffed animals, mattress, bedding? -- A: Mattress.
Dust mite-impermeable mattress covers alone are not very helpful - a complex approach with 3-4 measures is needed
Dust mite, more than foods, may be the major cause of allergic atopic dermatitis (
Bed covers reduce exposure to dust mite and improve adult atopic asthma

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