As the saying goes “Home is where the heart is!”
Home is where we should feel safe and secure, but many times dangers to our health that we are not aware of or that are not visible to the naked eye. Especially for those that already have the misfortune of health problems such as allergies or asthma. Your home environment can make you sick or be a health hazard without our knowledge. One of those problems is–dust mites!
What are Dust Mites?
- Dust mites are microscopic critters that we cannot see but are living in our homes. Their favorite hiding places are beds, pillows, mattresses and sheets.
- Dust mites, are second cousins to ticks and chiggers, and are a member of the Arachnid family (spiders are relatives of them too)
- are too small to see without a microscope
- they have an abundant population and alarming reproductive rate (25-50 babies) even though they only live 3 weeks
- each mite produce 10-20 fecal particles per day
- they feed off of dead skin cells that are bodies shed mostly at night while we are sleeping
- they thrive in warm, humid, and moist environments
- bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting provide an ideal environment for dust mites.
- Dust mites can cause havoc for someone who has asthma or allergies and although we cannot get rid of dust mites it is possible to put a barrier between them and you.
What is Dust Mite Allergy?
- Dust mite allergy is an allergic reaction to tiny bugs that commonly live in-house dust. Signs of dust mite allergy include those common to hay fever, such as sneezing and runny nose. Many people with dust mite allergy also experience signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
- dust mite allergy can range from mild to severe. Mild cases of an allergen reaction may cause an occasional runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing.
- severe cases, the symptoms can be chronic and constant, resulting in persistent sneezing, cough, congestion, facial pressure or severe asthma attack.
Solutions and Managing Dust Mites:
1. Allergy covers can help — they’re woven, so even dust mites can’t slip through them. Seal your mattress, box springs, comforter, and pillows.
2. Wash your bedding and area rugs at least once a week in 120 – 130 degree F.
3. Items that are not washable put in the freezer for a couple of hours at a time to kill the dust mites. If your child has a favorite stuffed toy that is not washable wait until they’re asleep and put the toy in the freezer, by the time they wake up it should be free of dust mites and they will never miss it!
4. Regularly vacuüm, with a vacuüm cleaner that has a hepa filter, all floors and especially carpets, where dust mites often hide. For extra precautions wear a mask while vacuuming to avoid inhaling allergens, and stay out of the vacuumed area for 20 minutes to allow any dust and allergens to settle after vacuuming.
5. Don’t go to bed with wet hair. This is just giving the dust mites more moisture and helps them to thrive.
6. Make sure you have a good air cleaner/purifier with a hepa filter. I personal preference –EnviroQuest (Click on link below to learn about these amazing air cleaners)
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7. Just by opening windows for one hour per day can increase ventilation and reduce humidity levels. Of course this is not always possible depending on your location and weather.
8. Changing Furnace & A/C Filters: Clean or replace your furnace and/or air conditioner once a month or as suggested by the manufacturers. Make sure you buy allergens rated filters – they are much more effective.
9. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to maintain relative humidity at about 50% or below and the temperature should be around 65-70 degrees. Dust mites can be killed if the humidity is below 35%.
10. Use a damp mop or rag to remove dust. Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens.
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Allergies are never easy to deal with but it takes education, managing your environment, and talking to your healthcare provider. I hope some of these suggestions have been helpful and let’s continue to “Go Green” and take another step to living a healthier life and controlling your health not letting it control you!
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Other related articles: “Did You Know–Facts About Allergies & Asthma?”
of the Day:
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail!” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson