Dust mites, which are found in abundance in almost every home, are an allergen that can cause classic allergy symptoms in both humans and animals. They inhabit every piece of dust you have in your rooms, including blankets, curtains and toys. How can one reduce their population? Read on to learn how to de-bug your house as much as possible.
Dust Mites 101Dust mites are tiny arthropods reminding of white spiders. They prefer to live in a warm, humid environment. That is why human houses are a perfect home for them: there is plenty of food (they feed on skin particles), no freezing wind, and lots of places to live in. They are found in dust and materials that accumulate dust well, such as bed linen (so much to eat there – yum!), furry toys, carpets, rugs, curtains, sofas, and every other piece of your furniture and belongings that is not easy to clean with one move. Dust mites can cause allergy, because some people’s (and pets’ too) immune system reacts to mites’ waste (they eat, so there has to be some waste) and bodies, which are left when bugs die. The bad news is that you cannot eliminate them completely. There will always be dust mites in your home, however hard you try to clean it. Still, it is possible to reduce their population and thus alleviate dust mite allergy symptoms.
How to Keep Your Home (Relatively) Mite-Free
- If you don’t have one, buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. Such vacuum cleaners are effective at keeping the dust and debris it removes within itself: older models, which are not equipped with a HEPA, tend to spread dust all over the place instead of gathering it. The best option is to purchase a wet & dry vacuum, which can be used weekly to clean not only the floor, but also the curtains, furniture, mattresses, etc.
- Purchase an air purifier. It can catch particles of dust and pet fur, pollen, and other molecules that can be harmful.
- Clean your house regularly. Besides the weekly routine, wipe all surfaces with a wet cloth every day. Yes, it sounds scary, but everyday cleaning is the basis of dust mite allergy symptom management.
- Dispose of or hide somewhere the carpets and toys you do not need. They accumulate a lot of dust on them. Another option is to wash them weekly using hot water (60 oC / 140 oF).
- Wash your bed linen every week using hot water (60 oC / 140 oF). The water should be hot, because dust mites are likely to survive if it’s colder.
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Itchy eyes
- IgE blood test. A doctor will take your blood sample and separately add several allergens to it. If a lot of antibodies appear in response to it, you are likely to be allergic to this allergen.
- Skin prick test. An age-old method, which implies making tiny holes in your skin and applying small drops of liquid with allergens on them. If the skin in the affected area swells and becomes red, you are allergic to this substance.
What’s to know about dust mite allergy? – Medicalnewstoday.com