Preventing and Coping with Allergies

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Dust Mites and Animals

Dust mites are most effectively reduced by decreasing the amount of dust in your home. You can:

  • Dust proof, especially your bedroom, by removing wall-to-wall carpet, blinds, down-filled blankets, and feather pillows. Window shades don't trap dust; curtains can be used if they are washed periodically in hot water. Hardwood floors with washable throw rugs are easier to remove dust from than carpets. The fabric on upholstered furniture traps dust much more so than vinyl- or leather-covered upholstery. Washable slipcovers are a good alternative.
  • Bedding should be encased in zippered, plastic, airtight, and dust-proof covers.
  • Washable items should be washed frequently using water hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills dust mites.
  • Dust frequently, using a damp cloth.


If you simply can't bear to find another home for your pet, you can:

  • Have someone bathe your cat or dog weekly and brush it outdoors even more frequently.
  • Remove carpets and soft furnishings that trap animal dander and dried proteins in dust.
  • Keep the pets out of your bedroom.
  • Clean your house frequently, while wearing a face mask. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and a room air cleaner.

Continued on page 4:  Foods and Other Ingested Substances


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