What are Dust Mites?
House dust mites are microscope bugs; they live off human skin scales and thrive in humid climates. The dust mite is harmless to most people unless they suffer from asthma or allergies. It’s not the dust mite that cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others but the droppings they leave behind. Each mite produces about 20 of these waste droppings every day and the droppings continue to cause allergic symptoms even after the mite has died. Dust mites do not bite or sting but harbour strong allergens in their bodies as well as in their secretions, excreta and shed skins. Constant contact with these allergens can trigger respiratory and dermatological complaints in some humans.
Skin cells and scales, commonly called dander, are often concentrated in lounges, chairs, mattresses, pillows household furniture and carpeted areas, which often harbor large numbers of these microscopic dust mites. Since the average human shed approx 10 grams) of dead skin a week, it gives the dust mites a lot to eat. Cats and dogs create far more dander for dust mites to eat.
A typical mattress can contain tens of thousands of dust mites. Sick yet? Nearly 100,000 mites can live in one square yard of carpet.
Where do Dust Mites live?
One of the main area dust mites live are in you beds and bedding, where spend 1/3 of our life. We shed about an ounce of skin scales every month, and dust mites love us for it. Your mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. (Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings.)
The favourite food for the dust mite is dander (both human and animal skin flakes). We shed about 1/5 ounce of dander (dead skin) each week. About 80% of the material seen floating in a sunbeam is actually skin flakes. Carpeting and household furniture support high dust mite populations. Most homes cater to dust mites, We give them plenty of food and we also provide just the right temperature, between 65 and 80 degrees. Dust mites also love high
humidity, since these temperatures favour the mold that breaks down the dust mite’s food (human skin).
Your mattress and pillows are like a big bellows. Every time we move on the bed a puff of dust is dispersed into your eyes and nose, which can cause problems with people with asthma and allergies. Remember a typical double bed can contain 3-5 million dust mites; this cans actually double the weight of the mattress in ten years!
Some Symptoms to Dust Mites
- Runny nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
- Facial pressure and pain
- Frequent awakening
- Difficulty breathing
- Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
Dust Mite Control
The amount of house dust mites will vary depending on where you live. Climates with high humidity and warmer temperatures have higher household dust mite levels. This microscopic, eight-legged creature loves to feed mainly on our dead skin cells we shed every day, along with pet hair and pet feathers also insect scales, even its own droppings. As we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping in our beds, so high levels of dust mites are often associated with the bedroom, especially in our mattresses, pillows and bedding. It doesn’t matter how house proud you are, how often you clean, dust and vacuum these little mites are hard to eradicate.
We can’t live in a shoe box, but we can take actions to reduce the amount of dust mite levels in your house by following a few points.
Your pet’s fur and feathers increase food source for dust mites. If you are a pet lover, move their cages or sleeping quarters as far away as possible from your beds and seating areas. Move their sleeping area to a place where it can be cleaned easily.
One of the most important things for removing dust mites is your vacuum cleaner. If your budget can afford it, the best vacuums to buy are the Vacuums with a water filter or vacuums with a HEPA filter. It pays to vacuum thoroughly once a week rather than a quick once over every day. Spend a lot of time thoroughly vacuuming, lounges, your favourite TV chairs, carpets and rugs. In the bedroom vacuum, dust or wash, window furnishings, bed heads, bedside tables anywhere dust can settle. Move your bed and vacuum under and around the entire area. Try to remove as much clutter in the room as possible, the more clutter you have creates more area for dust to settle.
Dust first before you vacuum, this will give it time to settle on the floor, try using a damp cloth, will help prevent dust to scatter also using furniture sprays will help prevent dust scatter.
Enclose mattresses, pillows and doonas with premium quality waterproof encasements. Wash bedding and children’s soft toys weekly in warm water and any detergent at approx. 80deg f, this will eliminate most dust mites. If you cannot wash your blankets, have them dry cleaned at least once a year. If you have carpet in your room, vacuum regularly and have it steamed cleaned once a year.
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