Dust mites are tiny insect-like pests that live in warm, humid environments and feed on dead human skin cells. We can’t see dust mites because they’re so little. They are not parasitic in the sense that they bite, sting, or burrow into human bodies. People who are allergic to dust or dust mites, on the other hand, react to proteins in dust that come from dust mite excrement, urine, or rotting carcasses. Dust allergies are caused by dust mites that cause swelling or inflammation of the nasal passages.
Dust mites can reside in your home’s bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes. Dust mites can be found almost anywhere; approximately four out of every five houses in the United States contain dust mite allergens in at least one bed.
Sources of Dust Mites
Dust mites are common and can be found in almost any home. The most essential aspect in assessing whether a home has a high number of dust mites is humidity. This is due to the fact that dust mites do not consume water like we do; instead, they absorb moisture from the air. Dust mites cannot thrive in locations with little humidity, such as deserts.
Dust mite allergies, unlike pet allergens, do not often remain in the air. Instead, the allergen easily settles into dust or clothes. These allergens stick to beds, mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes, which also serve as breeding grounds. The majority of dust mite allergen exposure occurs when sleeping.
Dust Mite Allergens and Health
Dust mites are one of the most common indoor asthma causes.
People with asthma and those who are allergic to or sensitive to mites could be hurt by dust mites in their homes. These allergens can cause mild to severe allergy symptoms as well as asthma episodes. A mild case may result in a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. The problem is chronic in severe cases, resulting in recurrent sneezing, coughing, congestion, facial pressure, or even a severe asthma attack. Asthmatics who are allergic to dust mites are at a higher risk of having an asthma attack.
How to Keep Dust Mites at Bay
You can take steps to limit the number of dust mites in your house.
Lower the humidity. Maintain a humidity level of less than 50% in your home. Air conditioning and dehumidifiers can aid in humid locations.
This reduces the number of sites where dust mites can thrive. Remove upholstered furniture and replace it with furniture with smooth surfaces. Take down the draperies and curtains. Allergen encasements should be placed on mattresses and pillows. Once a week, wash bedding in hot water (at least 120 degrees F). Reduce clutter, plush animals, and other dust mite breeding grounds. If that isn’t possible, wash stuffed animals once a week in hot water (at least 130 degrees) to kill and remove dust mites.
Carpets should be replaced. If the people living there are allergic to dust mites, the carpet should be taken out. If you must keep the carpet, use a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter vacuum cleaner. Wet mop floors frequently, concentrating on capturing dirt and dust without wet mopping.
Dust often. Dust often to cut down on dust and improve the air quality in your home as a whole. To limit the amount of dust that is stirred up during cleaning, use anything that can catch and lock dust (such as a damp washcloth or microfiber cloth) when dusting.
People with dust mite allergies or asthma that is made worse by dust mite allergies should try to keep as few dust mites as possible in their homes.