House dust (mite) allergy can be the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. It may not be possible to completely save your home from this creature. However, there are ways you can reduce your allergic reactions to these.
What Are House Dust Mites?
A dust mite is only a quarter to a third of a millimeter in size. These creatures, which are too small to be seen with the eye, resemble white insects when examined under a microscope. It has eight legs and is a spider-like arthropod.
Dust mites grow at temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. They also like 70 to 80 percent humidity. There are at least 13 types of mites. They are all well adapted to the environment inside your home. They mainly feed on tiny bits of skin that people shed every day. These pieces of leather extend into the interior layers of furniture, carpets, bedding, and even stuffed toys. These are places where mites live. The average adult person can shed 1.5 grams of skin a day. This is enough to feed one million dust mites.
What is the Symptom of House Dust Mites?
Common house dust (mite) allergy symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy nose, mouth, or throat
- Itchy skin
- Postnasal drip
If a house dust (mite) allergy triggers asthma, you may also experience:
Chest tightness or pain
Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
Sleep problems caused by shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing
Where Do House Dust Mites Live Most?
House dust generally lives on beds, mattresses and pillows, but mites can also be found in other parts of the house. In most cases mites are found where living conditions are ideal for them.
Unfortunately, the average dust mite tends to survive at the same ideal level of temperature and humidity we experience. They prefer very humid and hot climate that is not too stuffy. These conditions include a ready food supply and a temperate climate. While fabric-covered surfaces provide them with a perfect place to nest and settle, a stable food supply is not their only requirement and they tend to lean towards hot, humid areas. In most homes this usually means a bed as they tend to be warmer and more humid than other points in the house.
Not only do we provide a perfect living environment for house dust mites, we automatically provide a rich source of nutrients without even realizing that they eat the dead skin cells we shed every day.
While they have these primary locations, these small pests also appear on other fabric covered surfaces. Some of its common locations are sofas, living room chairs, mattresses, and carpets with long or deep pile. It provides another ideal repository for stuffed animals, dust and dust mites.
What Precautions Should Be Taken Against House Dust Mites?
Having dust mites does not mean the house is not clean. In many parts of the world, these creatures live in every home, no matter how clean. However, it is possible to reduce their effects. There are many changes that can be made in the home to reduce the number of these unwanted “guests”. Studies show that more dust mites live in bedrooms than anywhere else in the home. Measures to be taken include the following:
- Cover mattresses and pillows with zippered dustproof covers. These covers are made of a material with small pores that will not allow dust mites and waste products to pass through. These are also called allergen proof. Plastic or vinyl covers are the cheapest, but can be uncomfortable for some people. Other allergen-proof fabric covers can be purchased from most regular bedding shops.
- Wash your sheets and blankets in hot water once a week. To kill dust mites, you should wash them with water of at least 60 °C or warmer.
- Get rid of all types of fabrics that mites love and that you cannot easily wash regularly with hot water. Avoid wall-to-wall carpets, curtains, blinds, upholstered furniture and pillows in the bedroom. Choose roller blinds instead of thick curtains on windows.
- Get someone who doesn’t have a dust mite allergy to clean your bedroom. If this is not possible, wear a filtering mask when dusting or vacuuming. You can find these items in many drug stores. Dusting and sweeping mixes dust into the air. So try to do this when you may be away from the bedroom for a while.
- It is not enough to use a vacuum cleaner to remove all dust mites and waste. Large dust mite populations may remain, as they live deep inside sofas, chairs, mattresses, pillows, and carpet padding. Take precautions in other rooms in your home, such as your bedroom.
- If possible, avoid using wall-to-wall carpets. If you use carpet, mites don’t like short, tight pile type ones. Regularly use washable rugs on damp mopped wood, linoleum or tiled floors.
- Wash carpets in hot water whenever possible. A minimum of 60 degrees Celsius is required to kill dust mites. Therefore, washing with cold water will not be beneficial. Dry cleaning kills all dust mites and is also good for removing dust mites from living on fabrics.
- Keep the humidity in your home less than 50 percent. To do this, use a dehumidifier and / or air conditioner.