What’s a Dust Mite?
Dust Mites, are spider like creatures that are so small that you need a microscope to see them. The average mite is about 0.3 mm long. They are not harmful to humans, as they only feed on human and animal dander (dead skin and hair). Humans shed about 10 grams of skin a week providing ample food for these little creatures. Their favorite place is in the bedroom, where people spend a third of their lives, but they can be found in most places that humans lounge, furniture, carpets, stuffed animals, pillows, and even in the car. Depending on the temperature and humidity, a mattress can be host of up to 10 million of them and carpets can have colonies of 100,000 living in one square meter. They can defecate (poop) up to 20 times a day, this can build up to quite a bit, so that over 10 years a mattress can double its original weight due to the accumulation of dead dust mites and their feces, or a pillow”s weight can also double in weight in as little as two years due to same reason.
Dust Mite Allergies
Although Dust mites are not harmful to humans, some people have a sensitivity (dust mite allergy) to the feces of these mites. People that have allergies, are allergic to a protein that is produced in their gut, which cause the production of antibodies in the Human, these antibodies cause the production of histamines that are responsible for the nasal congestion. 18 – 30% of North Americans have dust mite allergies, and almost 50% of North American homes have allergen levels, that would cause people who were not previously allergic to develop allergies. It’s also believed that the feces of dust mites could be the main factor of 50 – 80% of asthmatics, and other allergic ailments. A strong exposure to the allergens of their feces, to babies in their first year of life can lead to lifelong allergy problems. Allergy symptoms can be any one or combination of the following.
- Breathing difficulties
- Facial pressure and pain
- Waking up frequently
- Hay fever
- Rubbing of the nose in a upward fashion for children
- Infantile eczema
- Itchy throat, nose, or roof of mouth
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Runny nose
- Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
- Watering eyes
These conditions make the dust mite allergy symptoms worse,
- high humidity
- Poor ventilation
- temperatures that are above 70 F / 20 C
- tobacco smoke or car fumes.
Ways for getting rid of dust mites
Although it would be impossible to completely eradicate them, but there are ways for getting rid of dust mites so that their numbers can be greatly reduced and give allergy relief.
1) First place to focus attention would be the mattress and bedding, since most people spend a third of their time sleeping on their beds within close proximity of the dust mite feces that cause allergy symptoms. Washing all bedding in hot water 130F/54C once a week.
Also giving your bed a chance to air out each morning can greatly reduce their numbers, give it a little time to air out before, it gets made up.
2) Vacuum with a vacuum cleaner that has a HERPA filter
3) Sun and beat the dust out of your mattress will help dispose of excess mite feces, as well dust and other allergens.
4) Dust mite mattress and pillow covers are the first line of defense creating a barrier between the person and the mites. Sleeping on dust mite proof mattresses, is the best option to greatly reduce numbers, Natural latex mattresses are dust mite resistant.
5) Â Use pillows made of latex and wool. Â Replace down duvets with wool or silk duvets.
6) Reducing the temperatures and humidity in the bedroom can also great help reduce their reproduction. Reduce humidity below 50%, and the temperature below 70F/21C.
7) Air out the bedroom during the day time can help reduce humidity
8) Airing out pillows in the hot sun, as well as washing them in hot water, will kill them as well as remove excess feces. Seriously consider replacing your pillows with latex pillows.
9) If hot water, for some reason is not an option, try freezing them, placing sheets and bedding in the freezer for a 24-48 hour period has found to be a very effective method to reduce their numbers.
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