Building Your Defense Against Allergies Part 3: Environmental Controls that Work

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Michedolene Hogan, publisher of, lives in a quiet rural neighborhood of NC. She and her four children enjoy the quiet atmosphere after years of living in Southern CA cities. On two acres of land she has found the perfect atmosphere for working as a freelance writer covering a wide range of topics. She prefers writing about alternative allergy solutions but enjoys dabbling in other topics as well. In her spare time she and her family enjoy working with rescued dogs from high kill shelters around NC that need a little special TLC to re-learn how to be part of a family.

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Dust Mite

When I was first diagnosed with dust mite allergies my allergist sat me down in front of a television, popped in a video and instructed me to pay attention. The object of the video was to teach me about environmental controls.

At the end of the video the allergist handed me several pamphlets, recommend allergy shots and sent me home.

I remember feeling confused and overwhelmed with all the information that had been rattled off in less than an hour’s time. I sat at my desk that evening and decided it was time to do what I do best, research! And so began my studies on utilizing environmental controls to manage my allergies.

Environmental Controls – What Works and What Doesn’t

My first week of research led me to a list of the top 10 environmental controls “highly” recommended by doctors and patients alike. This list included HEPA purifiers, HEPA filters for you air vents, HEPA filters for your vacuum, mattress covers and special blankets, special screens for your windows, special laundry soap and cleaning agents, and having your carpets and heating ducts professionally cleaned.

Now that’s a tall task if I might say so! But over the months of dealing with my allergies I learned that all that crazy stuff wasn’t really necessary to relieve my symptoms. Here are the items I found to be “optional” in dust mite management:

  • HEPA purifiers – these are the most recommended filter designs recommended for allergies. The truth is you have options when it comes to choosing your air purifiers for home. For me the idea of having the change messy filters on a regular basis was less than ideal not to mention expensive. After doing my homework I discovered a quality purifier that cleaned the air instead of filtering it and it was proven effective for allergy management!
  • HEPA filters for air vents – allergens caused by dust mites float around the air in your home for days. As a result installing filters in your air vents designed to trap them is worth your efforts, but they don’t necessarily have to be “HEPA” filters, just designed to trap the allergens you are fighting.
  • Mattress covers and special blankets – Now this is perhaps the most important investment you’ll want to spend your money on! Dust mites live in your mattress and these covers are designed to trap allergens so you can breathe easy.
  • Special screens and cleaning agents – In all my efforts I didn’t find any difference in allergy relief whether I used these items or not. My conclusion, they just aren’t necessary.
  • Having Carpets professionally cleaned – although dust mites live in your mattresses it is common for them to seek shelter in your carpets, upholstered furniture and your stuffed animals. Having your carpets professionally cleaned can help reduce the number of mites currently there. Then you can continue a regimen of thorough vacuuming using a quality vacuum.
  • Having your air ducts professionally cleaned – There has been very little evidence to support the claims that having your air ducts cleaned will in any way reduce allergens in the home. For this reason I chose to skip right over this recommendation.
  • HEPA filter vacuums – I will state up front that HEPA vacuums are excellent at trapping 99% of the allergens you vacuum up. The only flaw I have against them are that they do not “seal” shut, which allows tiny particles to escape and you have to change messy bags as the contents spills out when you remove it. This is why I switched to the Miele dog and cat vacuum cleaner. These units are self-sealed, preventing particles from escaping and traps everything in when you change the bag!

When you first dive into researching environmental controls you will discover a whole list of items highly recommended by your doctors or allergists. By taking some time to dig a little deeper you’ll soon discover what you really need and what you don’t!



  1. Rob

    In regards to purifiers what would be needed to setup a house with them? Are there standalone units that work or can a regular system be converted somehow?
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  2. Aanchal

    Allergies take place due to dust so it’s your prime objective to clean the environment around you. Keep your mattresses clean, don’t visit any dusty place and try to stay on clean places all the time.
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  3. Ricardus

    I’ve had major allergies due to seafood. But this is a good article to teach how we keep our place clean.
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  4. Nadia

    So good tips and I will keep the enviroment clean.Thanks for sharing you mind.
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  5. Cheolsu says:

    I have had allergies as a result of dust in my room. The dust was because of open windows and the room facing the road. The situation improved a lot about introducing air conditioning. The things in the room can also worsen the dust collection. Having carpets steam cleaned regularly (Atleast once a year) can also help.
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  6. Hampton says:

    I bought a mountain breeze air purifier and this solved some of my allergy problems. I live in a nursing home and so make really sure i have a good air purifier using a hepa filter.
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  7. Marie says:

    Although I think environmental controls can be handy in helping relieve symptoms – I think diet and lifestyle (how much stress you experience) are probably more important overall. For me I used to be religious with cleaning my room due to having severe asthma and allergies, it was only when I started changing my diet that I saw true results with my problems. I cut out dairy and wheat and no longer need to be so obsessive over how clean my room is as I no longer suffer from asthma/allergies. Of course not everyone’s allergy case is going to be as simple as mine appears but I find cleaning is just taking away a trigger as opposed to dealing with a root cause. Great article though – I did everything on that list :)
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  8. Joe says:

    Hey Miki,

    A very informative article on allergies. I don’t particularly have too many problems with allergies but my fiancee does have some issues with it. I will tell her what you’ve talked about here :)
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  9. Hi Mikki,

    Sounds like you have really tested out all the options and found what works best! Thanks to your research I’m sure many people will benefit when confronted with the same issue. Cheers,
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  10. Nirmal Kumar

    I have this allergy. These tips are useful and some are new. I would generally be careful. Purifiers are something new and I will try those out.
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  11. Clara

    I’m a big fan of HEPA filter vacuums. You won’t believe the difference in makes in air quality until you use one. At one point I thought I was developing a slight addiction to using it.
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  12. Wan says:

    Dust mites are the cause of allergy and it is really annoying when you have dust allergies. You will sneeze everytime especially if you are in humid places like in my country.

    Anyway, thanks for the great post. I had been thinking of buying a purifier.

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