What Exactly are Dust Mites?
Dust mites, are a very common cause of house dust allergies. As they thrive in temperatures around or above 70 degrees, with a humidity of approximately 80 percent, they reproduce rapidly in humid and warm places.
Being unable to survive if your home humidity is lower than 50 percent, the mites are often found within upholstered furniture, carpeting, mattresses, and pillows, and are a common cause of childhood asthma.
Even if your home isn’t visibly dirty, these minute mites can still reside there, and often an intense cleaning session can make your symptoms worse, especially as the mites tend to float up into the air when you walk on a carpet or vacuum.
What is a Dust Mite?
Insect-like creatures that feed on dead skin flakes, dust mites are microscopic so are unable to be seen with your naked eye. As they aren’t parasites, they don’t bite, and are harmless apart from the fact that they can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
The eight legged arthropods are found throughout the world and come in 13 species.
Where Do Dust Mites Come From?
Dust mites occur naturally in many homes, absorbing moisture from the air. As they can only thrive in humid conditions, they’re usually found in far higher numbers throughout the summer months.
What is a Dust Mite Allergy?
When you’re allergic to dust mites, it’s the waste as well as the body parts of the creature that set of your symptoms. If you feel you might have an allergy to dust mites, you may experience:
- Runny nose
- Itchy throat, mouth, or nose
- Stuffy nose
- Sore, watery, or itchy eyes
- Facial pain and pressure
- Blue-colored and swollen skin below your eyes
- Postnasal drip (mucus flowing from behind your nose into your throat)
If your allergy triggers your asthma, it’s also possible to experience the following:
- Wheezing or whistling noise when you breathe out
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pain or tightness
- Sleeping issues because of wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath
A dust mite allergy can be mild or severe, and in the worst cases, can result in a chronic condition where you sneeze persistently, feel congested, experience facial pressure, and may also suffer a severe asthma attack.
How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites
As dust mites need moisture to live, buying a hygrometer that measures the humidity of your home is a good start. Also, it’s imperative to cover all mattresses and pillows with allergy encasings. Frequent washing of your bedding is also a good idea.
If possible, avoid carpeting your home and regularly place your children’s toys in a plastic bag in the freezer to kill any lurking mites, as well as consider installing a whole house fan that helps with air quality issues such as dust mites and pet dander.