How to Get Rid of Dust Mites and Stop Dust Mite Allergy
for Dust Mites
Dust mites are one of the most common allergy and asthma triggers that can be found in your own home.
Asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis are the three main allergic diseases where the cause of most attacks has been linked to them. It is not only the mite that causes the problem. The allergen which causes these allergic reactions is actually a protein found in their droppings and carcasses.
Dust mites don’t actually bite your skin, despite the fact that they look like tiny bugs. However, they can cause skin rashes. You’re also more likely to experience other allergy symptoms such as sneezing and post nasal drip.
Interestingly, recent studies suggest that at least 45 percent of young people with asthma are allergic to house mites. Unlike “seasonal” allergies caused by molds and pollen, people who are allergic to dust mites often will have symptoms year round.
What are Dust Mites?
If you’ve been wondering what dust mites look like, they are microscopic, eight legged creatures, measures only about one-quarter to one-third of a millimeter in length, and invisible to the human eye.
They are arachnids, relatives of spiders, not insects. The mites are globular in shape, clear to creamy white in color, with hairs on their legs and body.
Dust mites prefer temperatures ranging from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). They also prefer high humidity with levels ranging from 70 to 80 percent.
There are at least 13 different types of mites. And, unfortunately, they have all adapted to the environment that exists within our homes.
They primarily feed on the tiny flakes of skin that humans shed daily. These flakes get into the deepest parts of furniture, carpets, bedding, and even stuffed toys.
These are the environments in which mites thrive. An average adult may shed up to 1.5 grams of skin per day. There’s enough here to sustain a million dust mites.
Life Cycle of a Dust Mite
Adult female mites lay 40 to 80 cream-colored elliptical eggs. After the eggs hatch, they pass through six developmental stages, and the adult form may also molt once.
The life cycle from egg to adult is about one month with the adult living an additional one to three months.
A primary source of exposure in the home is in the bedroom, which provides the best conditions of warmth, humidity, and food for dust mite growth.
Pests survive by eating dead skin cells, which make up to 80% of house dust. They also live off water vapor, which we provide for them through perspiring and breathing, approximately one pint per person per night.
Why Do Dust Mites Occur?
Dust mites are common and can be found in almost any home. The primary factor in establishing whether or not a home has a significant population of dust mites is the relative humidity of the space.
This is because dust mites don’t drink water as we do. Instead, they get their water from the air. Dust mites can’t live in places with low humidity, like deserts.
Dust mite allergens don’t tend to stay in the air like pet allergens do. Instead, the allergen settles into dust or fabrics within minutes.
These allergens stick to carpets, curtains, upholstered furniture, mattresses, and bedding, which act as nests for them. The majority of dust mite allergen exposure occurs while sleeping.
Summertime is when mite densities are at their highest, and wintertime is when they are at their lowest. Dust mite populations are greatest in humid areas and least in high altitude and/or dry climates.
Mites have an abundant food supply because of the large number of skin scales sloughed off by humans every day.
Do Dust Mites Bite?
Dust mites, in contrast to many other insects, don’t actually bite. However, an allergic reaction to these annoying insects can cause rashes. In nature, these are frequently red and itchy.
People often have allergic reactions to dust mites. This is usually caused by breathing in the mites’ skin and waste.
If you are allergic to dust mites, you may experience allergy symptoms all year. You might also notice that your symptoms get worse in the summer when it’s hot and humid.
Common signs of a dust mite allergy include sneezing, coughing, hay fever, postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat), runny nose, watery eyes, etc.
This condition may also trigger asthma depending on the severity of your dust mite allergies. For milder cases, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines to help with the symptoms or offer other prescription medications.
Many people with dust mite allergies find that medications do not provide complete relief. Subsequently, they might consider immunotherapy (allergy shots).
Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that can help prevent allergic reactions or reduce their severity. It can lessen the severity of allergic disease by altering the immune response to allergens.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
Getting rid of dust mites entirely is not a realistic goal.
As a result, pest management programs should focus on reducing human exposure to allergens as well as making the household environment inhospitable to the pest. Sleeping areas deserve the most attention.
The following steps should be taken:
- Select appropriate furnishings: Avoid furniture that collects dust. This includes overstuffed furniture and fuzzy textiles.
- Avoid fabrics that can’t be washed: Get rid of any fabrics that mites like and that you can’t wash often in hot water. In the bedroom, avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, curtains, blinds, upholstered furniture, and down-filled covers and pillows.
- Use covers: Use dust proof or allergen-blocking covers on your mattress and pillows. These tightly woven fabric covers stop dust mites from colonizing the mattress or pillows or from escaping. Cover box springs with allergen-resistant covers as well. Also, replace feather pillows and down quilts with synthetic fibers.
- Keep bedding clean: Wash bedding — pillow cases, sheets, blankets, and mattress pads — every two weeks in hot water.
- Avoid curtains: Avoid using curtains, drapes, or blinds on windows. Use plastic shades instead.
- Remove tapestries: Eliminate or reduce fabric wall hangings such as tapestries or pennants.
- Remove carpets: Carpets that cover the entire floor should be avoided. Replace it with smooth, easy-to-clean hard surfaces. Dust mites can multiply rapidly on carpeting.
- Use tiles instead: If at all possible, your bedroom floor should be hardwood, tile, or linoleum. Once a week, damp-mop any hard floor surfaces.
- Don’t put carpet on concrete directly: Don’t put carpeting directly on the concrete if at all possible. Mites can thrive in the warm space between a rug and the concrete.
- Use HEPA filters: If you absolutely must keep the carpet, make sure the vacuum you use has a HEPA filter. To ensure that dust mites and their feces are completely captured, use certified allergen-capturing filters in all air conditioning units and vacuum cleaners.
- Keep pets clean: Pets with fur or feathers contribute to dander and increase the food source for mites.
- Vacuum mattresses: Vacuum mattresses and the seams and framework of beds on a regular basis.
- Try dry cleaning: Dry cleaning kills all dust mites and is also effective at removing dust mites from fabrics.
- Reduce indoor humidity: Maintain a humidity level of less than 70% in your home. To do this, use a dehumidifier and/or an air conditioner.
- Treat with least-toxic products when necessary.