Dust Mites & Allergies: How to Get rid of Them

If your home has dust (which is practically in every home) there will be dust mites. These pests will eat dead skin flakes that have been shared by pets and humans.

The microscopic organisms (invisible) won’t bite humans like is the case with bed bugs or head lice.

If you have an indoor allergy, then dust mites can worsen your symptoms and so it is important to control them in your house.

Unfortunately, dust mites are microscopic pests. This makes it difficult to control the bugs when you can’t even see them.

  • You will find dust mites in the areas of your house that trap dust or where you stay for long such as carpeting, fabrics, and mattresses that aren’t washed regularly.

Description of Dust Mites

The NIEHS define dust mites as tiny (microscopic) pests that look like insects and reside in house dust.

  • Dust mites feed on dander – which are peelings of dead skin that are shed by pets and humans.

Immunologists and allergists note that dust mites are major irritants that will worsen asthmatic symptoms and spark allergic attacks.

  • However, you don’t have to worry about dust mites if they do not cause allergic reactions to you.

How Dust Mites Make Humans Sick

From the onset, I have to say that dust mites do not bite humans.

However, humans get sick when they get exposed to dust mite proof or faces, especially for people who have dust mite allergies.

The dust mite poop contains proteins that are perfectly sized and they will trigger allergy symptoms for anyone who is allergic to dust mites.

  • Besides, these foreign allergens (dust mites) are very common in the environment and so they will reach many people.

The symptoms of allergic reactions caused by dust mites will include difficulty breathing, wheezing, runny nose, and sneezing – these are the common signs of hay fever allergy and asthma.

Where Will the Dust Mites live?

In your house, dust mites will hide in areas that have dust such as curtains, carpeting, mattress, upholstered furniture, and bedding.

So, it is possible to control dust mite allergy (for the people its effects) by reducing the number of dust mites roaming in the house.

  • However, doctors may prescribe medications to manage asthma and leave the dust mite allergy symptoms.

Clinical Immunology reports that over 80% of US homes have dust mites on one of their beds.

So if you notice that you are sneezing when it is not allergy season yet, there could be dust mites in your spaces.

Pets will shed dead skin cells that will feed the dust mites and transport them around or into the house.

Because dust mites eat dead skin, you find them in high numbers in areas such as couches, mattresses, pillows, and rugs.

Dust mites will not remain in the air for a long time as they will settle quickly after they are disturbed.

However, the presence of dust mites in your house does not imply that you are unclean.

  • This is because every home (except in high attributes, and arid or dry climates) has some amount of dust mites settled somewhere.

Symptoms of Allergies Resulting from Dust Mite

The symptoms and signs of having a dust mite allergy in humans will include:

  • Worsening eczema
  • Skin itching
  • Asthma
  • Ear canal itching
  • Coughing
  • Postnasal drip
  • Drippy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery and itchy eyes

How to control dust mites

1. Clean the Bedding Regularly

Dust mites will thrive and reproduce better in a moist and warm environment where there are dead skin cells – this is the full description of most of our beds.

You should, therefore, change the bed linen regularly and also clean the bedding well if you need to control the dust mites.

  • I advised to wash the bedding well using hot water (130 + degrees Fahrenheit) – this will kill the dust mites and remove various allergens.

The non-washable items on your bed must be closed into the dryer and the highest heat setting for about 20 minutes every week.

Also, you can freeze the non-washable items (inside some plastic bags) for about 24 hours to kill the dust mites.

  • This method (freezing) however won’t remove the various allergens from the negotiable items.

For the kid’s bedroom, wash the stuffed toys and animals using hot water.

  • Also, reduce the stuffed toys and animals that are in the kids bedroom.

2.Use a mattress encasement

Using a protective covering for the mattress will also help control the dust mites in your house.

  • You can also use similar coverings on the pillows and box springs

Ensure the coverings or the replacement are dust mite proof – some of the recommended ones are the zippered covers.

  • The dust mites therefore will be starved to death as they cannot access the dead skin cells.

However, experts recommend that you must steam clean the mattress twice yearly even after using the protective covering to kill the dust mites.

3. Remove the Wall-to-Wall House Carpeting

Dust mites will love the carpeting that is in your house covering wall to wall since it allows dust to settle and also holds the dead skin cells.

  • Such carpets, due to their size and material, are challenging to clean regularly.

So, if any member of the house has an allergy triggered by dust mites, you are required to remove the wall-to-wall carpeting.

Suitable materials that can replace the wall-to-wall carpeting include vinyl, tile, laminate, and wood – these will be easy to clean and mop daily.

  • However you can improve the comfort of your underfoot by using some area rugs that are easily washable.

Vacuuming the carpet (with HEPA filter) is the next advisable method when the wall-to-wall carpeting cannot be removed.

Also, you should still clean the carpeting occasionally but ensure the temperature of the steamer is 200 + degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Lower The House Temperatures

Dust mites will experience challenges reproducing when the temperatures are low.

  • So it is advisable to lower the temperatures of the various rooms in your house to control the dust mites.

Dust mites will breed and multiply optimally at temperatures that are between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is advisable therefore 2 have the room temperatures in your house be anywhere outside this range.

5. Lower the Rooms’ Relative Humidity

As noted above, dust mites will thrive in humid and moist conditions.

First, I know that most homeowners will clear steam in spaces such as the bathroom using some venting fan.

Other conditions will increase the humidity in the house: these will include improper ductwork, damp crawl spaces, and leaky windows.

  • You can measure and control the humidity in the rooms using a hygrometer.
  • Maintain the relative humidity at under 50% to control dust mites.

Steps that you can take to lower the humidity levels in the rooms include using venting systems and fans, installing a dehumidifier, installing various moisture barriers, and treating the damp basements.

7. Reduce Clutter and improve the HVAC Air Filters

Homeowners love keeping more and more items in the house even when the use of such items is limited.

  • The reduced usage of such items will allow them to pick up dust.

So, if you’re not using some items and you still need them around, I advise that you keep them in enclosed cabinets or covered boxes to prevent them from picking dust.

The heat pump system in your house will affect the amount of airflow available and also how much dust will gather on various items.

So, it will be good to install some air purifiers that will capture the dust mites before they get into the house.

  • How to also advise that you replace the air filters in the HVAC system

Regular and effective cleaning of the filters will reduce the dust mites in the house.

  • The filters to be cleaned regularly include those in the vacuums, clothes dryers, dehumidifiers, humidifiers, air purifiers and air conditioners.

Conclusion

Dust mites are closely related to spiders and ticks but they are microscopic in size.

On diet, as noted earlier, dust mites will eat the skin cells that are shed by humans and pets.

Recent Posts