Dust Mite Allergies

No one is sure what causes asthma and allergies, but we do know there are certain triggers.

“The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are exposure to indoor allergens such as domestic mites in bedding, carpets, and stuffed furniture, cat dander and cockroach allergens.” – The USA National Institute of Health

“The air we breathe may include particles that some people are allergic to, such as house dust mite, animal dander, pollens and moulds. When people are “allergic” their immune system reacts in an abnormal way to these specific particles when they inhale or touch them.” – Asthma Victoria

“Particles from 2.5 to 10 microns in diameter tend to collect in the upper portion of the respiratory system affecting the bronchial tubes, nose and throat. Those below 2.5 microns in diameter can infiltrate into deeper portions of the lung and therefore remain in the body longer.” – F.J. Miller “Journal of the Air Pollution Control Association

“75% to 85% of asthmatics have positive reactions to skin tests of house dust. Common house dust is composed of many asthma and allergy triggers such as animal dander, moulds, spores, pollen, dustmite, cockroach allergens. This confirms the long held idea that most asthmatics have an allergic component to their asthma.” – Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

How can exposure to these triggers be reduced?

“Allergy and asthma triggers should be avoided wherever possible. For example, if house dust brings on asthma, try to keep the house as dust-free as possible.” – USA Department of Health and Human Services

“Dust mites and their byproducts are a major allergic factor and their control is essential in the management of asthma.” – Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

“Several studies have shown that if indoor allergen exposure can be reduced sufficiently, then asthma symptoms often improve. Also, reducing the allergen exposure in infancy reduces the risk of becoming allergic later and developing asthma.” – Asthma NSW

Asthma NSW recommends that exposure can be minimized by using correct furniture fabrics such as leather and vinyl, making housing too dry for mites to breed in, and using effective cleaning methods such as dusting with a damp cloth and vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly.

What are dust mites?

Mites are one of the main responsible agents for perennial allergic disorders such as rhinitis and bronchial asthma. The patients suffering are normally allergic to the mites’ faecal pellet, which is rich in allergens.

“The strongest risk factors for developing asthma and allergies are exposure to indoor allergens such as domestic mites (house dust mites) in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture” – The USA National Institute of Health

After identifying house dust mites as the cause of the allergic disease of the patient, the treatment is mainly based on avoidance of mites and on specific clinical treatment.
“Dust mites and their by-products are a major allergic factor and dust mite control is essential in the management of asthma” – Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

How effective is normal vacuum cleaning?

“Many of the things people try may not have a great effect. These include chemical sprays and normal vacuum cleaning” – The Children’s Hospital, Westmead

“Conventional vacuum cleaning is not only unlikely to eliminate Der p 1 (dust mite droppings) but also actually increase the airborne levels.” The Lancet, 1990 – Allergy Control Unit, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, UK

Normal vacuum cleaners only catch the larger particles because their filtration systems are too porous. They are ineffective and allow allergens like dust mite faeces, mould spores and bacteria at 1-20 microns simply pass through, become suspended in the air, where they are easily inhaled. Most people store their vacuum cleaner without emptying it, allowing bacteria and dust mites to breed undisturbed, and again be re-circulated into the air when next vacuumming.

Carol Parr

Author Carol Parr

Carol Parr is a Building Biologist and Healthy Home Wizard. She has worked with asthma and allergy sufferers in their homes and work places for over twenty years, specialising in mould, dust mites, chemicals, EMFs and WiFi. When she’s not turning unhealthy rooms into healthier, relaxing and productive spaces, she’s most likely frightening her husband and their children with numerous “let’s see what this does when …” projects.

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