You cough! You sneeze! Your eyes water so much it’s difficult to even see! I’m talking of course about allergies, and one of the leading causes of allergies in the United States happens to be a microscopic bug called a House Dust Mite.
While some people experience seasonal allergies caused by high pollen in the air, many people experience year round allergies that are frequently caused by these dust mites. In fact, some 35 million people suffer from dust mite allergies.
What can you do about dust mites? Even the most zealous housekeeper cannot completely eliminate dust mite populations, but there are a few steps you can take to help control these teeny-tiny pests.
Sleeping With The Enemy: Dust Mites In Your Bed
Before you can control dust mites, you have to understand one important characteristic. If you are the least bit squeamish, do not read what I’m about to say next. You’re sleeping with dust mites! Yup, right on top of them in fact. You bed is their favorite hiding spot, and the majority of them are in your mattress. They crawl on you while you sleepâ€¦ In and out of your nose and ears, feeding on the dead skin and dander that you shed.
It gets worse. After only two short years of owning your mattress, some 10 Million mites can call it home. The longer you own your mattress, the more dust mites it can have. Yuck!
10 Ways To Control Allergen Causing Dust Mites
1. Dust mite covers. Look for dust mite covers that are allergen-impermeable at any high end department store. Encase your mattresses, pillows, and box springs with these covers. Replace mattresses every 3-5 years for severe cases.
2. Hypoallergenic pillows. Just like dust mite covers, these pillows can be found at most department stores in, and will help with all types of allergies, including dust mites.
3. Frequently wash bedding. All of your sheets, pillow cases, blankets, mattress pads, and even comforters need to be washed at least every two weeks. Opt for hot water above 120 degrees for best results.
4. Vacuum. Frequently vacuum your home, especially carpeted bedrooms, to remove unwanted dust and mites. I’m talking vacuuming every day if necessary until your symptoms subside. You may look to invest in a vacuum with a HEPA filter attached. Empty your vacuum frequently. If your vacuum requires bags, opt for backs that are double the thickness.
5. Dust. I know, this tip seems obvious, but dust mites live in dust. Just one particle of dust can contain over 42,000 mites. Keep all areas of your home, especially the bedroom, dust free. I recommend wearing a mask while dusting, and leave the room for at least 20 minutes after you finish cleaning.
6. Air purifiers. You’ll be surprised how effective a HEPA air purifier is at removing all types of allergens in your home, including house dust mites.
7. Install allergen filters. Install allergen-trapping filters in air conditioning and heating systems inside your home. If you sleep with a CPAP, make sure it has a filter as well. Regularly change out these filters.
8. Blinds not curtains. If your bedroom has cloth or fiber curtains or draperies, look to replace them with decorative and stylish wood-slated blinds or shades. Also look to remove any fabric-based wall dÃ©cor inside your home.
9. Wood or tile flooring. Dust mites love your fibrous carpets. Give these pests one less place to hide by switching out carpet for wood or tile flooring.
10. Wood, leather, or vinyl furniture. For extreme cases of dust mite allergens, get rid of all upholstered furniture. Like your carpet, dust mites love these areas. Opt for wood, leather, or vinyl furniture instead. Think about using dust mite covers on your furniture as well as your bedding.
In the United States, the House Dust Mite is one of the leading causes of asthma, eczema, and allergic symptoms. Their effect on human health is significant. The gross thing is that it’s not the actual dust mite that causes asthma and allergic symptomsâ€¦ It’s their feces!
House Dust Mites are actually related to spiders; in the class Arachnida. These adult mites are pale in color, have eight legs, no antenna or wings, and only have one body segment. Dust mites feed on the dander shed by both humans and pets. They also will eat feathers, mold, and fungus.
Another problem with these pests is that they are nearly invisible to the naked eye, measuring a mere 1/100th of an inch. They can be almost anywhere. However, these tiny pests do need high humidity, above 60%, to survive. Avoid using humidifiers in your home if you are allergic to dust mites.
Are you living with a dust mite allergy? We’d love to hear your story!