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Top 5 Household Allergens That Are Living Right Under Your Nose

Dust Mites

Forget the bedbug scare. Everybody lives with dust mites -- and they're horrible. Just look at a picture of one.

Dust provides a home for mites, a primary cause of allergies. They eat the dead skin you shed, so one of their favorite places is in your bed. You might have millions of the critters in your mattress, pillows and bedding. They also hang out in dust on books, furniture and knickknacks -- anywhere dust collects.

The best way to fight the mites is to fight the dust. Keep things clean. Reduce clutter to make the cleaning easier. Instead of carpets, use hardwood or tile floors and washable rugs. Go for leather rather than upholstered furniture. Vacuum twice weekly with a machine with an HEPA filter. Wash bedding in hot water at least once a week. Allergen-resistant covers for mattresses and pillows can help. Allergens often gather on blinds and long drapes. If you have them, clean them often.

Stuffed animals are a great home for dust mites. Limit the number a child can have. Get washable toys, and wash them often. If a favorite stuffed toy isn't washable, put it into a plastic bag and leave it in the freezer for 24 hours or more.

When you dust, use a damp cloth. If you swipe with a dry rag or duster, you're scattering mites into the air -- right under your nose!

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