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Just thinking of dust mites living in your pillow by the millions, eating your dead skin and hair is enough to make you feel sick. The major cause of asthma and allergies; especially in vulnerable individuals, such as children and the elderly are dust mites.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites (sometimes called bed mites) are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. They belong to the family of eight-legged creatures called arachnids that also includes spiders, chiggers and ticks. Dust mites are hardy creatures that live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 75 percent to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 40 percent to 50 percent. They are not usually found in dry climates.

High levels of exposure to dust mite are an important factor in the development of asthma in children. People who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins within the bodies and feces of the mites. These particles are found mostly in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. They float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding, but settle out of the air soon after the disturbance is over.

Dust mite-allergic people who inhale these particles frequently experience allergy symptoms. There may be many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust, but usually between 100 to 500 mites live in each gram. (A gram is about the weight of a paper clip.) Each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste particles per day and lives for 30 days. Egg-laying females can add 25 to 30 new mites to the population during their lifetime.

Mites eat particles of skin and dander, so they thrive in places where there are people and animals. Dust mites don’t bite, cannot spread diseases and usually do not live on people. They are harmful only to people who become allergic to them. While usual household insecticides have no effect on dust mites, there are ways to reduce exposure to dust mites in the home.

Which climate do dust mites thrive in?

Dust mites are formed in warm and humid environments and where dust occurs.

Where are dust mites mostly found?

Human beings shed approximately one fifth of an ounce of dead skin dander on a weekly basis. Although bedroom carpeting and all kinds of domestic upholstery also sometimes host dust mite infestations, beds are the major habitation of mites.

How many dust mites can be found in a mattress / pillow?

A typical used mattress can be infested with 100,000 to 10million dust mites. A two-year old pillow can be infested with about 10 percent of its weight in dead dust mites as well as with their droppings.

How can you come in contact with them?

One common place for dust mite formation is inside of a mattress that has a warm body lying on it. This is one major way mite infestations occur. Mites consume dander, which includes the skin flakes from humans and animals.

Why does house dust cause allergic reactions?

House dust is a mixture of many substances. Its content may vary from home to home, but the most common allergy triggers are:

  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Fungi (Mold)
  • Bacteria
  • Animals

Are they harmful?

House dust mites are not actually harmful. However, the medical significance of house dust mites arises because of their microscopic cast skins and feces that are a major constituent of house dust. Which induces allergic reactions in some individuals. There is a genetic predisposition to dust mite allergies, but like many allergies it can also develop over time.

What symptoms do dust mite’s cause?

The Mayo Clinic, WebMD and NIH collectively provided this list of typical symptoms of an allergy to dust mites. You may experience all or just some of them:

  • Hay fever
  • Watering eyes
  • Running nose
  • Sneezing, asthma
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Infantile eczema
  • Itchy
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose
  • Roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnatal drip, cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Frequent awakening,
  • Swollen, blue-color skin under eyes

How Can I Prevent Dust mites Allergy Symptoms?

The best strategy is to reduce your exposure to dust. Large numbers of dust mites can gather in mattresses, bedding, and upholstered furniture. Start in the bedroom, where you probably spend the most time. Get your mattress cleaned every ten days using a professional HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Wear a mask while cleaning the mattress.

Tips for Around the House

  • Clean bare floors often with a damp mop or cloth.
  • Vacuum carpets once or twice a week. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter.
  • Get carpets and rugs washed every six months.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture such as sofas. However, wood, leather, plaster, or metal furniture is better for dust allergies.
  • Replace drapes with roll-up window shades. However, if you have curtains, wash them in hot water each season.
  • Wash stuffed animals, soft toys, and other dust collectors on a regular basis

How can dust mites be eradicated from ones home?

To limit and destroy dust mites, there are several things that can be done. It is very important to wash bedding, curtains, and pillows weekly in very hot water. If a home is carpeted, it should be vacuumed often. Using a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is highly recommended. Steam cleaning carpet is also believed to be helpful in the destruction of dust mites.

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