Dust, Particles and Fibers
Introduction to dust
Where dust collects
Controlling dust around the home
Those dust bunnies lying around your house and office are not as harmless as they may seem. Worldwide, airborne dust causes the most problems for people with allergies. The reason for that is house dust is actually a mixture of several things?many of which may trigger allergies as well as asthma attacks.
It was in 1921 that researchers first hypothesized that house dust may contain things that could trigger allergies or asthma attacks, but house dust was not actually analyzed until 1964. At this time, a group of investigators led by Voohorst analyzed house dust and said that a dust mite allergen may be responsible for allergies or asthmatic attacks triggered by dust.1
In addition to dust mites, other things that may be found in house dust include fibers from different types of fabrics; cotton lint, feathers and other stuffing materials; dander from cats, dogs, and other animals; bacteria; mold spores (especially in damp areas); food particles; and bits of plants and insects (such as cockroaches) that can also trigger asthma attacks.
Where Dust Collects
Controlling Dust Around The Home
Clean rooms and closets often with a damp cloth to remove surface dust. If family members have a lot of allergies, they should either wear a dust mask or have someone else do this cleaning.
Damp mop hard surface floors rather than sweeping since sweeping can stir up the dust so it gets in the air.
Maintain humidity levels around 40 percent to 60 percentto discourage dust mites and mold.
Use a central vacuuming system since many biological pollutants are small enough to pass through ordinary vacuum cleaner bags. If this is not possible, use a vacuum cleaner with HEPA or high efficiency filters. In addition to carpeting, be sure to vacuum fabric window coverings and fabric-covered furniture. Again, people with severe allergies should not be the ones doing the vacuuming.
Avoid having many knick-knacks sitting around on shelves since these can easily gather dust.
Brush pets often outside to minimize hair getting on the floor and furniture. This hair can contain dander, which is an allergen.
Blanco LR. Dust Mites: A Primer. www.ozemail.com.au/~lblanco/0mites.htm Date accessed: October, 2000.