Ever see A Dust Mite ?
You might not know it, but your home could be harboring tiny monsters. Dust mites are microscopically small creatures that lurk in fabrics, carpets, curtains, and even bedding. They feed on flakes of dead skin that we naturally produce and can cause a range of health issues for you and your family.
In this article, we’ll discuss just what dust mites are and why you need to be aware of them. We’ll also give you the lowdown on how to identify signs of an infestation so that you can take action quick. You don’t want to be living with these troublesome pests in your home, so don’t wait another minute to learn how to evict them!
What Exactly Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that you can’t see, yet they live all around us in our homes! These critters feed on skin cells, dust, and pet dander that we shed every day. Dust mites love living in bedding, mattresses, carpets, and furniture as these environments provide an abundant food source and a warm, humid environment they thrive in.
You might think that these microscopic creatures are harmless, but dust mites can cause allergies and asthma symptoms. When these tiny creatures come into contact with the skin or are breathed in through the air, the body’s immune system responds by releasing histamine which can lead to sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes.
To make matters worse, dust mites’ waste products (commonly referred to as dust mite droppings) can lead to even more serious health problems. Dust mite droppings contain proteins capable of triggering allergies and asthma attacks as well as increasing your risk of developing other respiratory illnesses.
Why Dust Mites Thrive in Your Home
Do you ever look around your home and realize how much dust has accumulated? Well, there’s more than just dust particles in the air—dust mites can be present, too. They may seem harmless, but they can actually cause a lot of damage to your health, as well as your home.
So why do dust mites thrive in our homes? They love moisture, warmth and darkness—all three of which our homes provide. Dust mites feed off flakes of skin from the people and animals living in the house and produce waste containing allergens such as proteins, making them a real nuisance for those who suffer from allergies. They can also live in upholstery, carpets and curtains for up to three months without food!
It’s important to take proactive steps to limit their presence and protect your health. Regular cleaning using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will help to remove dust mites from carpets and fabrics, while avoiding humid conditions in your home can reduce the moisture that attracts them.
The Allergens in Dust Mite Droppings
Something else you might not know about dust mites is that their droppings can be a major allergen. Because dust mites digest human skin, their excrement is loaded with allergens that can cause health issues for people with allergies or asthma.
When people who are allergic to dust mite droppings inhale them, it causes the body to go into an allergic reaction, leading to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and even full-blown asthma attacks. In fact, research has shown that exposure to dust mite allergen is a major risk factor for asthma in both children and adults.
To reduce the amount of dust mite allergen in your home, try these tips:
Wash bedding in hot water (more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit) at least once a week
Use special mattress and pillow covers that are designed to help keep out dust mites
Use HEPA air filters on your furnace and vacuum regularly (including upholstered furniture)
Keep humidity levels low in your home (ideally no higher than 50%)
Vacuum rugs and carpets at least once a week
Health Problems Caused by Dust Mite Allergens
Maybe you knew that dust mites are creepy crawlers but did you know they can also be dangerous? It’s true; their allergens can cause asthma and other respiratory problems, plus sore throats and skin rashes.
So why are dust mites so bad? Dust mites contain a protein in their waste that your body can mistake as something threatening and react to it by producing histamine. And when you have an allergic reaction to the dust mite’s allergen, it triggers unpleasant symptoms like:
itchy eyes, runny nose
Dust mite allergies are even linked to more severe conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, eczema, hives and hay fever. The worst part is that there is no cure for allergic reactions caused by dust mite proteins—that’s why prevention is the best course of action.
Reducing Dust Mites in Your Home
Dust mites can be a major problem, but with the right precautions, you can reduce their presence—and their effects—in your home.
One of the best ways to reduce dust mites is by controlling the level of humidity in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping indoor humidity levels between 30-50%. This will make it less comfortable for dust mites to live and reproduce.
Vacuuming and Laundering
Vacuuming and laundering your bedding regularly is also a great way to reduce the presence of dust mites in your home. Change and wash bedding at least once a week in hot water, as this will kill the existing dust mites. And be sure to vacuum often—regularly vacuuming carpets can cut down on particles that dust mites feed on, like skin cells from pets or humans.
Finally, it’s a good idea to invest in allergen-proof covers for your mattress, pillows and box spring. These covers help limit exposure to allergens, like dust mites. It’s best to check the label before buying one—the higher the number of microns in the fabric weave, the better it will keep out allergens.
Finding Relief From Dust Mite Allergies
Do you suffer from dust mite allergies? If so, you’re not alone—around 20 million Americans are affected by dust mite allergies. But you don’t have to let them put a damper on your life. Here are some ways that can help you find relief.
One of the best things you can do is to buy dust-proof bedding and vacuum your mattress regularly. This will help keep the number of dust mites in your bed to a minimum, reducing the amount of allergen exposure you experience while sleeping.
Wash Your Bedding Regularly
Washing blankets, sheets, pillows and other items in hot water can also help slow down the spread of dust mites. If possible, try to opt for materials made from synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester as these are less likely to harbor excess amounts of dust and allergens.
Dust mites thrive in dry climates, so using a humidifier can reduce their numbers significantly and make your home more comfortable. Just make sure to use distilled water in your humidifier to avoid sending bacteria or mold into the air!
Don’t let dust mite allergens get the best of you—try these tips for finding relief!
All in all, dust mites can be a hidden but powerful danger for many people. Although it’s impossible to completely rid your home of dust mites, there are important steps you can take to reduce their populations and protect your family.
Start with regular vacuuming, washing and changing bedding, and if needed, use a dehumidifier. Dust mite covers and an air purifier can also help keep them at bay. Above all, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers dust mites bring and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from them.