Monday, January 29, 2007

Mr. Sneezy, the Dust Mite Poo

I've been scouring the web for information about my tiny but powerful foe, the dust mite. Actually, it is not the mite itself that causes trouble, but its poo. Just as the poo of fleas (referred to as "flea dirt," that black stuff left behind in bedding and couches) can cause problems for you and your furry friends, it is the poo of the revolting dust mite that has caused my current deafness and misery. So I am trying to figure out how to reduce the mite poo presence in my house, given that I live in an apartment with semi-icky rental apartment carpeting. Of course, Miss Kitty comes with her own unique set of allergens. My ENT gamely continues to inquire whether I still have the cat and if I might not consider barring her from the bedroom. But what's the point of sleeping at all if MK can't be snuggled in my arms?

I was sort of disappointed to discover that all sites agree upon one thing--vacuuming is completely useless for dust mite control. It only serves to swirl them around in your house and possibly cause a more serious allergic reaction. But few things satisfy as much as a freshly vacuumed carpet, with its orderly vacuum lines! How discouraging to know that this hasn't helped. I feel I've been given permission to never vacuum again. I've also been let off the hook for dust on hard surfaces, such as bookcases. Dust mites don't live there, only in soft things they can burrow into. I feel better about this since there is dust o'plenty on things that I really don't want to clean, like the blinds and the blades of the ceiling fan. I am relieved to know that my own sloth in these areas has not caused the problem.

My ENT and all allergy sites agree--start with the bed. I had already covered my mattress and pillows with tightly woven covers designed to keep out allergens like cat dander and dust mites. If you don't belive this is needed, you may want to know this grotesque factoid:
Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings.
Check out this site for additional disgusting facts such as, "About 80 percent of the material seen floating in a sunbeam is actually skin flakes," and horror movie worthy close-ups of mites.

I bought a duvet cover today which I had been dragging my feet on but since I have the duvet in my face and in many cases over my head for seven to nine hours a day it seemed like high time to shell out. So when it arrives, I will throw the duvet in the dryer on high heat to kill all the nasties currently taking up residence in my Primaloft supposedly non-allergenic duvet, then zip it up in this $80 dust mite diaper, then button it into the pretty but useless duvet cover. Then I am to wash all my bedding once a week using hot water and a hot dryer, since dust mites can live through everything else, and ideally, change my pillow cases every two days. Are you laughing like I did when the ENT made this suggestion? I'm going to work on the once a week thing and see how it goes.

1 comment:

Mom on Coffee said...

Thank you for posting this! My 4yo daughter has been having issues for a very long time. She began her testing today and the dust mite marker lit up like a Christmas Tree. So, we've now started our journey to rid as many evil mites as humanly possible and do our best to relieve her symptoms. You've given some really great info in an easy to understand format! Much appreciated!