Dust Mites, Allergens, Dust, Humidity and Dead Skin Cells: The Most Common Infestation in Your Home
Introduction: What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are a variety of small arachnids that live in dust and feed on dead skin cells. They can be found in carpets, bedding, furniture and other soft furnishings.
Dust mites feed on organic matter and because they contain around 75% water, they can keep their water balance by taking in more or less water when the humidity is over 50%. They are at risk of dryness when humidity falls below 65% and their survival & reproduction rates will decrease if the RH falls below 50%.
Dust mites are not visible to the naked eye, but they can cause allergies such as sneezing and rashes.
Although most dust mites live outside of the home many will find their way inside, either by travelling through air currents or on people’s shoes. Once indoors they will continue to multiply and spread out over household surfaces where they feed.
What are Allergens?
Allergens are substances that trigger an allergic response in the immune system.
Allergens are often found in the environment, in foods, or on skin. Allergic reactions usually cause symptoms such as sneezing, itchy nose and eyes, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, skin rashes and itching.
However even though these symptoms are common among people with allergies they can happen for other reasons too. It is important to see a doctor when you have these symptoms to find out what is causing them.
What is Dust and How Can it Be Dangerous to Your Health?
Dust is a term for fine particles or ultra fine particles. Dust can build up in your home if it is not cleaned regularly. There are many reasons why you may have too much dust in your home.
Dust can be dangerous to your health because it can lead to respiratory diseases, asthma, allergies and other diseases that may be caused by the bacteria that live in dust.
The Fine Particulate Matter from Dust includes:
-The dust’s surface area and the type of material it contains
-Gas emissions from furnaces, fireplaces and gas cook stoves burning natural gas or wood
-Smoke from cigarettes and wood burning stoves
From 5% to 15% of people who are highly sensitive to dust mites are also reported to be sensitive to crustaceans.
Doctors may diagnose dust mite allergies with a skin prick test or in vitro test for specific IgE.
How Does Humidity Affect the Dust Mite Growth In Your Home?
The problem is that once dust mite allergens are released they can remain in the area for up to two years.
Dust mites like humid environments, which is why you need to make sure you take steps to lower the level of humidity in your home. You can do this by using dehumidifiers or air conditioners during hot summer months, opening windows on hot days and running fans on cooler days.
What is Dead Skin Cells And Why It Matters In Your Home Environment?
Dead skin cells are one of the many reasons why it is important to have a clean home environment. Dust mites eat dead skin cells and drink water from a wet surface.
Dust mites are about the size of a pinhead and live in the bed sheets, bed pillows, rugs, curtains, and carpets in your house.
They feed by eating dead skin cells from human hands and faces.
Dust mites can cause allergies with symptoms such as runny eyes, asthma attacks, itchy throat or ears.
It is important to have a clean home environment because dust mites can potentially cause allergies which could lead to asthma attacks or runny eyes for people with this condition.
How to Safely Remove Dust Mites from Your Home?
Dust mite allergens are serious triggers for asthma and allergic reactions.
There are many ways to get rid of dust mites. Vacuuming carpets regularly is the best way to remove dust mites from your home. You can also use a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner attachment to clean upholstered furniture, curtains, pillows, and other surfaces in the house. If you still think that house dust mite allergens are bothering you, consider getting professional carpet cleaning service to make sure that all the dust mites in your carpet are gone.
Relative humidity in the home should be kept at 35%-50% to decrease the growth of dust mites. In a dry climate, it is important to remember this point. Buy and use a hygrometer to measure humidity in their home.
Make sure to clean high-traffic areas of your house regularly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner and wipe down surfaces with a microfibre cloth. You should also change bedding weekly and wash clothes before storing them. It’s important to wash your bedding at a high heat, at least 60 degree celsius.
Purchase an air purifier with a hospital-grade H13 HEPA filter and activated carbon filters. This will filter out dust and fine particles in the air, including mold spores, but also filters out chemical smells and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Make sure that people with a history of allergies or asthma don’t sleep in a bunk bed. If they do, the person who is sensitive should sleep on top and both mattresses should be encased in an allergen-impermeable cover.
One way to decrease the number of mites in your carpets is by using tannic acid. However, this is only marginally effective at best.
Consider taking a multifaceted approach for dust mite avoidance. This would include repetitive & sequential interventions shown to decrease mite exposure, as described earlier.
If you are diagnosed as allergic to dust mites and also have asthma, your doctor may decide to provide you with subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Pesticides (such as acaricides) used to control mite populations may not always be the best option. They may not be as effective at reducing allergen levels, and there are also concerns about using chemicals in your home.