The Unseen Terror – About Dust Mites Allergy

Microscopic house dust mites are a major problem for allergy sufferers causing runny, stuffy noses; red, itchy, watery eyes and sneezing. In many homes, dust mites trigger severe wheezing, coughing attacks, shortness of breath and bring on asthma. Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye, so how does such a microscopic creature cause so much discomfort and distress?

It’s because many of us are allergic to proteins in dust mite bodies and faeces. Being so tiny, the waste particles float easily into the air when anyone walks on the carpet or disturbs bedding. When allergic people inhale these particles, the lungs become sensitive to these allergens, dust mite allergy symptoms, asthma and other respiratory disorders can be brought on.

In fact, dustmite and their digestive waste (faeces) are the single most common allergen that people inhale within their home. Even in the cleanest of homes, dust mites inhabit mattresses, pillows, blankets, underblankets, quilts, carpets and all fabric covered furniture.

As many as 18,000 dust mites in one gram of dust!

Dust mites are 8 legged members of the arachnid family (same family as spiders and ticks). They thrive in warm humid conditions, surviving and multiplying best when relative humidity is 75-80% and the temperature is 20-21ºC or more. Mite numbers reach a peak mid summer. Life cycle from egg to adult is 30 days. As many as 18,875 mites have been counted in one gram of dust (weight of a paper clip)! The ususal population is about 100 to 500 dust mites per gram.

Dust mites absorb moisture from the atmosphere using small glands on the surface of their body. They are less commonly found in dry, high altitude areas and they die when the humidity falls below 40-50% because they cannot get enough water from the atmosphere.

What we shed in bed keeps dust mites fed!

Dust mites live on a diet of skin cells which we and our pets shed daily. Bedding is a major source of dust mites irritants because moisture, temperature and human skin flakes provide optimal conditions. We lose a litre of body fluid every night, shed a kilo of skin a year and spend a third of our life in bed creating a perfect breeding ground in your mattress for dust mites and bacteria.

Dust mites only live in the environment, they don’t bite, don’t spread disease and never live on people. They are only unpleasant to people who become allergic to them.

The experts tell us to minimise our exposure to dust mites

Minimising exposure to indoor allergens such as the house dust mite, is recommended by major Australian (Asthma NSW) and International asthma and allergy medical opinion leaders to provide significant relief from allergies. Dust mites and their byproducts are a major allergic factor and their control is essential in the management of asthma according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

What you can do in the home

Stop continual night time exposure with allergy free bedding specifically developed, tested and proven as a barrier against dust mite allergens. Air permeable, durable with an average pore size of 6.1 microns, soft, light weight, totally encasing all bedding with a zip for complete protection. Dust mite covers encase pillows, mattresses and doonas to provide dust mite allergy relief.

While allergy protective bedding products can reduce exposure to dust mite allergens, they are very helpful when used in the appropriate patient, or used in conjunction with other strategies to modify environmental allergen exposure.

Allergy Free Bedding

Create a barrier between you and the dust mite allergens by enclosing the entire mattress, the entire pillow and the entire doona. Provides asthma and allergy relief by stopping the continual night time exposure to dust mite allergens while you sleep.

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Washing bed clothes in a suitable laundry liquid effective against dust mites and their droppings, moulds and animal allergens can be part of your prescribed allergy and asthma management plan. Wash sheets, doona covers and pillow cases at least once a week.

Reduce indoor humidity, house dust mites are 80% water and cannot live without it. Keep rooms well ventilated with air and sunlight. Watch for mould and mildew spores.

Extra water in the air from a quick shower can raise the humidity in a house enough to sustain the dust mites. It gives them their daily drink. People with dust mite allergy symptoms should open windows or use an extractor fan after having a shower as researched by Insect and Research Development, based in Hertfordshire, England.

Dust furniture and hard surfaces with a damp cloth or micro fibre cloth preventing allergens from floating into the air. Add a drop of tea tree oil to the cloth to eliminate dust mites.

Keep pets out of the bedrooms, preferably outside, away from bedding, furniture and carpets. Groom pets outside and wash their bedding regularly.

The conclusion remains that effective allergen avoidance requires a comprehensive approach, and that individual steps alone are generally ineffective (Platts-Mills et al. 2000).

Independent Testing

It’s one thing to say your product is natural and healthy, but another to back it up with third-party independent certifications that shows how Mitey Fresh is committed to providing transparency of our products and their manufacturing processes.

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Towards healthier living, Carol Parr ♥

As Building Biologists, we have acquired knowledge of adverse health effects and recommend effective strategies to reduce occupants’ exposure by eliminating and controlling as many sources of pollutants in order to create healthy indoor living environments that are as exposure-free and natural as practically possible.

References

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, Third Expert Panel on the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.
Bethesda (MD): National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (US); 2007 Aug. (Online). Available: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/asthgdln.pdf [May 1, 2015]

Platts-Mills TA, Vaughan JW, Carter MC, Woodfolk JA. The role of intervention in established allergy: avoidance of indoor allergens in the treatment of chronic allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2000;106(5):787–804. (Online). Available: http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(00)39663-4/fulltext [July 17, 2015]

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