Did you know that dust mites bites are not bites at all?
Physical Attributes of Dust mites
Dust mites are tiny eight-legged bugs related to spiders and ticks that primarily live in households. They are of two main species, the European house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) and the American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farina). These creatures are so small, they cannot be seen directly with the human eye. Adults measure only about half a millimeter long, and the underdeveloped forms are much smaller.
Feeding Habits of Dust Mites
A common misconception about dust mites is that they are parasites. This is not true as they do not depend on animals or human blood. Dust mites do not bite as is the case with pests such as bedbugs. They feed off dead matter such as shed skin scales from human beings and pets. What is commonly referred to as dust mite bites are usually bedbug bites or allergic rashes from the mites.
Breeding Grounds and Habitat of Dust Mites
These microscopic bugs thrive and multiply rapidly in warm and humid environments. The optimum condition for their growth and development is about 75 to 80 degrees F and 70 to 80 percent relative humidity. It is no wonder that they hide under pillows, mattresses, carpets and upholstered furniture. Underneath such surfaces, an adult female mite lays about 60 to 100 eggs which hatch to produce six-legged larva. The larva then progresses to an eight-legged nymph and ultimately, the eight-legged adult. The development from egg to an adult takes about one month and the mite lives for another one to three months from there.
According to research, about 100000 to 1 million dust mites can live inside a single bed. Their presence can be confirmed by collecting dust samples and viewing under a microscope in the lab or by use of detection kits readily available in drug stores. Although the mites are generally not a thing to worry about, they are a concern among particular individuals who are allergic to them.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Allergies
These small creatures are the most common allergenic components of house dust. Their bodies and feces contain a protein that causes an allergic reaction in some individuals. They can trigger health conditions such as rhinitis and eczema. Studies have also shown mites to be a common allergen in asthmatic individuals where inhalation of the particles can result in acute attacks.
Other symptoms of dust mite allergies include the following:
Red watery eyes
Wheezing Shortness of breath
In children, upward rubbing of the nose is also an indication of a dust mite allergy. Symptoms worsen when sweeping, dusting or vacuuming when the dust mites are stirred in the air. They can persist all year round if not treated.
How to Prevent Dust Mites
To protect you and your loved ones from the harmful effects dust mites can cause, you can take the following measures:
Wash your bedding regularly
Controlling the mites begins by cleaning out the fabrics where they thrive. This will mean washing your sheets and pillow covers regularly to kill the allergens. Water temperature as high as around 140˚C is effective in destroying the mites and their eggs. You will need to do this regularly as they can come back once the conditions are favorable.
Vacuum your carpet
Carpets are a great breeding spot for mites. Vacuuming them as often as possible is important to reducing their numbers. Use a vacuum cleaner with a double-layered micro-filter bag or one with a high-efficiency particulate air filter to reduce the emissions coming from the cleaner. For individuals with allergies, it is highly recommended that you stay away from the area being vacuumed at the time and wait for a while even after the vacuuming is over. You could also get rid of wall to wall carpets all together and replace with other forms of flooring such as tiles, wood, or vinyl.
Clear clutter and remove dust
Dust is easily trapped in items that are cluttered everywhere and here, mites also find a home. To prevent this, remove any books, newspapers, magazines or toys that lie around. Better still, you should dust out the items and store them appropriately.
Maintain low relative humidity levels
It is crucial to keep the humidity levels low in the house to prevent not only the thriving of these dust mites, but also of many other health threatening allergens. Levels below 50% are ideal and an air conditioner or dehumidifier should help in the regulation.
If eliminating the mites proves a difficult task, you can get plastic or vinyl covers for your pillows, box springs, sheets, and mattresses. The mites here are trapped beneath the covers/protectors and therefore do not get access to your body.
Products Used To Get Rid of Dust Mites
There are specially formulated products sold on Amazon that you can use to get rid of the mites in your home. These come in form of sprays, powders, laundry agents, fumers and foggers:
Dust Mite Sprays
Sprays products come in liquid form. They are stored in bottles with spray nozzles for application of the treatment on the fabric or surface. Examples of dust mite sprays are Allersearch ADMS dust mite spray and the Sprayway Good Night as discussed below.
The product utilizes an oxidizing compound to destroy the allergens from the dust mite. It does not contain tannic acid or benzyl benzoate and this renders it safe for people, pets, and the environment. It also does not stain, so you can use it on all colors including white. A 32oz bottle of the Allersearch ADMS can cover up to 600 square feet. You can spray it on your carpet, curtains or other areas that would make a good home for the mites. The treatment will usually last for several weeks.
This ready-to-use spray can be applied on bedding, carpets, and furniture. It is safe and easy to use and destroys dust mites as well as ticks, fleas, bedbugs, and lice. It is also fast-drying and continues to eliminates mites long after being sprayed.
Dust Mite Powders
These are dust mite products that come in the form of powders. Some of the recommendable ones that you can use are the Ecology Works and the Acarosan powder.
This powder works not only for dust mites but also for fleas. You can apply it directly to upholstery, bedding mattresses, sofas and beds or you can choose to mix with water and use as spray. It works by coating the food source of the mites. Once it gets to their bodies, it destroys them through dehydration. It is a safe and non-toxic way to get rid of the allergens.
This is a water-based product without fragrance that is effective for control of repopulation. You use it by simply sprinkling on the carpet or rug, brushing it in and allowing it to dry before vacuuming up. The treatment kills the dust mites for up to one month.
These products are used in washing fabrics such as sheets or pillow covers. They work by either dislodging the allergens from fabrics (detergents) or by denaturing them (additives). Examples of these are the Allergen Wash laundry detergent and the DeMite laundry additive
Besides washing out dirt from clothes, this all-in-one detergent contains an active ingredient that removes dust mite allergens from the fabrics. It works effectively in any water temperature, whether cold, warm or hot. The Allergen Wash laundry can be used with all types of washing machines.
This is an anti-allergen additive that is added to regular detergents. It works by getting rid of the allergens on the clothes. Just like with Allergen Wash detergent, you are not limited to using extreme high water temperatures when washing with this product. You can use it even with cold or warm water.
Fumers and foggers
These products create insecticidal smoke which kills the mites. Treatment lasts for relatively long periods of time.
This is a strong and highly effective fumigation product. The 3.5 g can be used to treat a room of about 7.5 to 120 cubic meters. The fumes are toxic and so the area to be fumigated should be evacuated prior to use. All windows and ventilations should also be turned off. The fumer reaches to each and every corner of the room leaving no dust mites behind.
Eliminates Mold Odors at their source using natural enzymes; Long-lasting protection
Also breaks down allergens from pollens, pet danders and dust mite matter. NO HARSH CHEMICALS.
Easy-to-Use Aerosol with either spot spray or release-total format – Chlorine-FREE, Chloroflurocarbon FREE
Designed for hard-to-reach damp and musty areas. Perfect for crawl spaces, attics and automobiles..
Ideal if you are selling or showing your home and concerned about lingering mold odors
Taking the right measures to prevent and eliminate dust mites in your home is a recipe to a cleaner and healthier environment in your home. In the event you already have the symptoms, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.
Medication can be in form of antihistamines which reduce the production of certain chemicals in the body responsible for allergic reactions. They can also be corticosteroids delivered as nasal sprays which help in controlling symptoms of hay fever as well as reduce inflammation. Decongestants can also be issued to create a clear nasal passage. This makes it easier to breathe through the nose. Some treatments also involve combining different medications for efficient results.
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