When my daughter took her allergen sensitivity test, it was pretty easyto tell that she was sensitive to dust mites. A big red bump raised upquickly where they had scratched her skin with the dust mite allergen,and it didn’t take special training for me to realize she was veryallergic! The first place to start with ridding a house of dust miteallergens is the allergic person’s bedroom. Usually at least 8 hours ofthe day is spent there, often much more. If you can make the bedroom aplace of respite, then allergy symptoms should decrease.
A child’s bedroom has some unique challenges in eradicating dust mites.Perhaps one of the hardest to deal with is the stuffed animals andtoys. Dust mites love dark, warm places to hide and multiply. And ifyour child sleeps with their stuffed friends, then there are also deadskin cells present (a veritable smorgasbord for dust mites).
Gettingrid of stuffed animals can be a heartbreaking sorrow for a young child.The good news is, that unless the allergies are extreme, you canimplement a plan that will keep allergens to a minimum.
Use the enemies of dust mites to fight them dry air, light, and cold.First, I got rid of all the stuffed toys that she didn’t care aboutvery much. Second, I restricted her bedtime snuggle to one stuffedanimal per night. Third, I started a stuffed animal cleaning rotation.I use a rotation because there are too many stuffed animals to wash anddry effectively in one load.
Stuffed animals being cleaned should first go into the freezer for 24hours. This will kill all the dust mites in them. You are not home freeyet, though! Remember that it is the dust mite waste that causes theallergic reaction. You have to get rid of that before the stuffedanimals are safe to snuggle with.
Use a hot water wash and an allergenremoving detergent (such as De-Mite) to get rid of all the nasties. Dry thoroughly! The frequency of washing will depend on the severity ofthe allergy, and the conditions in the room (temperature, light,humidity) . Weekly might be necessary for some, quarterly will beplenty for others.
After cleaning, the stuffed friends can go home to their room! Theyshould be displayed where sunlight can reach them easily, to discouragedust mites entering. If your child’s allergies are quite pronounced, I stronglyrecommend a dehumidifier. Dust mites cannot live with a humidity levelunder 50%, so this is very effective in discouraging their presence.
A diagnosis of dust mite allergy in a child can be quite daunting atfirst, but with careful planning and cleaning, those beloved stuffedanimals can still be enjoyed!