If dust and dust mites are the bane of your existence, then you should read this article. Early autumn is often the main production time for several allergens. If you already know that you are allergic to dust mites, animal hair or pollen, you can assume that dust will always be an allergen. For those of us with sensitivity to modeling spores, pollen and dust mites, from early August to late November, dust in our homes can bring with it a greater chance of triggering our symptoms. This is because dust is basically a collection of allergens that has settled in corners, under furniture and on window sills.
A recipe for powder
The main ingredient in the powder is dead skin. The tiny specks of glitter that you see spinning in a ray of sunshine are actually your skin cells. Your bed, armchair or sofa overflows with this type of dust, which makes these articles the perfect environment for dust mites. The dust mite allergen is an important factor in sparks attacks for those with allergic asthma (approximately 90% of allergic asthmatics are sensitive to dust mites).
Other debris fragments join the mixture, including fibers, dirt and sand found on shoes, pollen, mold spores, carbon granules from furnaces, sawdust, parts of plants and insects, etc. Dust bunnies are a product of fiber dust: those small fragments of fuzz from clothes, rugs and furniture gather to form a larger ball of dust.
Fall Dust Woes: Why do dust allergies get worse in the fall?
- During the months of July and August, dust mite populations peaked throughout the year due to the large quantities of heat and humidity (derived from sweat and environmental humidity). So if you notice that you are waking up with dry eyes or a stuffy nose, you can assume that you have some sensitivity to dust mites.
- From early August to early November is the ragweed pollinating season, that’s why it’s the main cause of fall allergies. Ambrosia relies on the wind to spread its pollen, which means (unlike other plants that produce beautiful or fragrant flowers to attract insects to pollinate them) this plant produces huge quantities of tiny pollen grains that are transported by the burst air. Since this pollination technique is completely affected or not, more pollen the plant produces will increase its chances of pollination.
- When wet leaves accumulate, mold growth is prolific. Leaves are a perfect food source for molds, so it only takes a small amount of moisture and a few hot days for molds to snack quickly and produce large quantities of spores.
If you have moderate to severe dust, mildew, pollen or dust mite allergies, now may be the time of year when the dust in your home is made up of these seasonal allergens. If you are looking for relief beyond basic cleaning, you want to protect your room from dust.
How to prepare the room:
- pack your bags as if you were moving and empty the room.
- empty the closet: clean the contents and seal in plastic bags or Tupperware containers.
- keep clothing in zippered plastic bags and shoes in shoe boxes raised off the floor.
- remove any loose carpets.
- clean and rub woodwork and floors to remove all dust present.
- clean all wooden, tile or linoleum surfaces in the room with water, then wax or oil them.
- cement any raised linoleum on the floor again so that there are no hiding places from the dust.
- if the room is a guest room, keep all windows and doors closed
- (Remember, if you are allergic to dust, you may want to wear a mask when cleaning.)
- clean the room thoroughly once a week.
- clean floors, furniture, upper parts of doors and door frames and window sills with a damp cloth or oil cleaning cloth.
- vacuum carpets and upholstery on a regular basis (preferably using a vacuum cleaner specially designed to filter allergens)
- remember to wash the curtains, because they can collect a lot of dust. Soak them in a bucket of hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit) to rid them of the dust mites.
- open the windows and “air” the room. Due to the hermetic construction used to improve energy efficiency, there are 200% more allergens trapped inside older, drafty homes. Although open windows may be thought to carry more allergens such as pollen and dust, the amount that accumulates in the room for a period of a week or two is substantially greater. In the end, you have multiple allergens coming out of the room that they enter.
- if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, you can remove it because it tends to collect dust
- bed linen must be washed weekly
- installing an air filter can drastically reduce the amount of dust in the air and, in turn, reduce the amount of dust that builds up on your personal belongings.