The Dust Mite
Meet the Dust Mite – He’s the one culprit Allergy Suffers shouldn’t overlook.
Of the many components of house dust, a microscopic creature called the Dust Mite causes the most trouble. These bugs feed off skin scales and dander shed by humans and appear to be the major allergen (allergy-causing substance) in house dust. A study in England showed that 10% of the population and 90% of allergic asthmatics have positive skin test to dust mites. Recent studies in the U.S. suggest at least 45% of young asthmatics are allergic to dust mites.
What are Dust Mites?
Mites are members of the eight-legged Arachnid family and are distinctly related to spiders, chiggers, and ticks. Like the germs on your doorknob, they can’t be seen without a microscope. They thrive in warm, humid conditions. They’re hardy– surviving and multiplying best when the relative humidity is 75-80% and the temperature is around 70 degrees. Dust mites cannot survive when the humidity falls below 40-50%. They’re very rare in dry, high altitude areas.
Is Dust Mite Allergy a Sign of a Dirty House?
No. Certainly a dirty house can worsen the problem and it’s important not to let surface dust accumulate, but more-than-ordinary housekeeping measures may be needed to help relieve house-dust allergy. The task of getting rid of dust is complicated by the fact that usual cleaning methods like vacuuming, dusting, and sweeping actually raise dust levels in the air. Even thorough vacuuming and dusting do not reduce the number of mites growing in carpeting or mattresses. Using a Lindhaus vacuum can help substantially reduce dust and the dust mite particles in your home. In fact, while most vacuum cleaners fill the air with dust while being used, the Lindhaus actually cleans the air as you use it.
Ten Steps to Controlling Dust Mites in the Bedroom
Since you probably spend roughly one-third of your time in bed, that should be your first area of concern. Encase your pillows, mattress and box springs in dust mite proof bedding. This puts a barrier between your nose and the dust mites.
Wash your blankets and sheets in hot water at least every two weeks. This will kill any live mites and wash out the accumulated dead mites and their feces. Allergen Wash is perfect for colors or fabrics that might fade
If your bedroom is currently carpeted, you might want to consider replacing it with a hard, smooth surface such as hardwood, tile, or linoleum. Mites don’t fair well on these types of dry surfaces. If you can’t or prefer not to remove the carpet, use Allersearch Spray or DustmiteX to treat carpeting. These products will kill and encapsulate the dust mite and it’s waste to keep it immobilized and out of your nose.
Decorative pillows, stuffed animals, and other dust mite friendly materials should be removed when possible. Eliminate their living space and you’ll see a reduction in their numbers.
Furniture in the bedroom should be made of wood, vinyl or leather. (Nothing with cloth upholstering)
Try and maintain humidity levels of 40% – 50%. Use a humidity gauge to monitor these levels and a humidifier or de-humidifier to control it.
Use a certified HEPA vacuum in your home. While many regular vacuum cleaners actually stir up more dust than they capture, the HEPA vacuum sucks in and holds even the tiniest particles including the dust mites. Be wary when purchasing vacuums that claim to have HEPA “type” filters. It’s either HEPA or it isn’t. Your best bet is to buy the Lindhaus featured in our online product catalog. It’s the best there is at dust reduction.
Use a certified Austin Air HEPA purifier in the bedroom to filter out airborne particles.
Use a vent filter kit shown to the right to form a final filter before the air is released into the bedroom. It only takes a moment to install and can really help reduce dust.
Finally, don’t place furniture over floor vents. Air carrying moisture through the vents causes moisture and mold to form on the underside of the furniture and that can fill the room with mold spores every time the central unit comes on. Check your house and make sure all vents are unobstructed.