You can’t see or hear them, but they’re there – lurking everywhere in your home. House dust mites. These tiny creatures dwell in our homes and feed off the skin particles our bodies naturally shed. Even though they’re tiny and we don’t notice them, house dust mites can be harmful to our health and can cause problems like allergic reactions or severe asthma.
The reason why we can’t see a dust mite with our naked eye is because they’re microscopically small insects. But, if you want to have an idea of how they look, they have a clear shell and slightly resemble a crab. House dust mites fall under the arachnid class, a group which includes spiders.
Male dust mites have an average life span of 10 to 19 days, while the lifespan of females can be as long as 70 days, during which time they are busy making eggs. Each female dust mite is capable of producing up to 100 eggs, which means dust mites are capable of rapidly increasing in numbers.
Dust mites like living in areas that provide them with moisture and warmth. That’s why popular places for mites to gather include pillows, doonas, mattresses, and carpets. While dust mites are drawn to both polyester-filled and feather pillows, they tend to like polyester pillows better. In fact, polyester pillows attract around twice the number of mites found in feather pillows. Also, according to a British Medical Journal research article from 1996, people who have asthma are more likely to experience allergic dust mite reactions if they use synthetic pillows.
So, how do mites cause allergic reactions in humans? Well, it’s because they create and release strong digestive enzymes that humans are allergic to. Due to the fact that they are so common, dust mite allergens have been the subject of a number of studies throughout the world. Researchers have discovered that up to 15 different dust mite allergens exist. Dust mites can cause symptoms such as sneezing, itching, skin rashes, nasal congestion, wheezing and asthma. Mite faeces can trigger symptoms as well since they also contain the allergenic digestive enzymes.
Mites and mite faeces are known to be a common cause of allergies, particularly those that occur in children. Numerous therapies have emerged to treat dust mite allergies, and new drugs are being continually developed. The current standard treatments for mite allergies include anti-histamine and steroid medications. But it’s important to realise that these types of drugs can cause side effects and are not long-term answers to the mite problem.
The best approach to deal with mite allergies is to address the actual cause of the problem – and that’s the presence of mites and mite faeces in your home. You can reduce the number of dust mites by regularly vacuuming and cleaning your carpets, couches and the areas around pillows. Also, make sure all your bedding, including pillows, duvets and covers, are washed frequently. A good way of eliminating mites from fabrics is by soaking them in hot water along with a couple of tablespoons of eucalyptus oil. Putting the dryer to high heat is also effective
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Another thing you may want to consider is having a HEPA air filtration unit in your home. In case you’re wondering, HEPA stands for high efficiency particular absorption, and these units eliminate dust mites and mite faeces in the air. This enables you to enjoy improved indoor air quality in your home. There are also vacuum cleaners that come with built-in filters that remove micro-particles, which would be useful for getting rid of mites from carpets and floors. These vacuums can also be used on mattresses to reduce mite numbers.
We recommend hiring an air purifier from Mitey Fresh to clean the air of dust mite allergens.
To get rid of dust mite particles in your carpet, hire our cleaning service to thoroughly search and remove built-up matter in your carpets and furnishings.
Dust mite populations will be higher in homes with completely carpeted floors, as opposed to those with hard or wooden floors since they don’t provide a suitable living environment for mites. If you or your family members are severely affected by mite allergies, then it may be necessary to remove the carpet completely.
So, while we can’t see mites, they can certainly affect our health. When the weather allows it, keeping windows and doors open and allowing a flow of fresh air into your home or office can help decrease the number of mite allergens floating in the air.