Dust Mites

What are dust mites?
Dust mites are tiny, eight-legged bugs that live in your home. Dust mites are insects but are relatives of spiders, chiggers and ticks. They can travel through the air and are too small to be seen by the naked eyes. Their size can be measured about 1/100th of an inch in length, which is smaller than the period at the end of the sentence.

Dust mites feed off dead skin cells from pets and humans. The average adult human loses up to 1.5 grams of skin particles per day. This amount is sufficient for the nourishment of house dust mites. In addition to this food, they also take in material of other origin, such as pieces of fiber and feathers.

Dust mites have no eyes, or an organized breathing system. They love warm, humid areas filled with dust. Bed pillows, mattresses, carpets and furniture are great places for them to live. The dust mite can leave up to twenty droppings a day. The ideal breeding environment for dust mites are warm, damp and dark (mattresses), it can produce anywhere from 60-100 eggs


Where are dust mites found?
House dust mites are found everywhere there are humans or animals, warm temperatures, and humidity level above 60%. They prefer to live mattresses, upholstery, rugs, carpets, quilts, pillows and almost all textile items (including children’s textile toys).

The average bed can be infested with millions of mites. We spend approximately eight hours per day in bed, leading to close and prolong contact with the harmful fecal pellets of the house dust mite.

Mites have been reported worldwide and at least 13 species of dust mites have been found in house dust. The dust mite’s life spans about 30 days and the female lays approximately one egg each day. House dust mites populations peak in the summer in humid climates and lowest in the winter months.

Dust mites, like other biological contaminants, contribute to poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work and school because they can make you sneeze, trigger allergic reactions, cause rashes, watery eyes, coughing, dizziness, lethargy, breathing difficulties, and digestive problems.

Recent studies in the United States suggest that at least 45 percent of young people with asthma are allergic to dust mites.

What is house dust mite allergy?
People who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins in the bodies and feces of the mites. House mite allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to proteins in the excretion of dust mites. The protein attacks the respiratory passages causing hay fever and asthma. It will aggravate atopic dermatitis in people who have a tendency to this problem.

The excretion of the mites contains a number of protein substances. When these are inhaled or touch the skin, the body produces antibodies. These antibodies cause the release of a chemical called histamine that leads to swelling and irritation of the upper respiratory passages – typical asthma and hay fever symptoms. The predisposition for allergy is often hereditary.

Dust Mite Allergens may cause:
Year-around hay fever symptoms
Eye irritation (conjunctivitis)
Running nose and sneezing (rhinitis)
Cough and other respiratory problems (asthma), asthma development
Skin problems, such as rash and itching (dermatitis)
Chronic Sinusitis

Controlling dust mites in the bedroom

People spend more time in their bedroom than any other single location, so for people with dust mite allergy, reducing dust in the bedroom is especially important. Dust mite grow especially well in mattresses, pillows and bedding. Some ways of reducing dust mites in your bedroom include:
Use a hardwood floor, remove upholstered furniture
Enclose the mattress, box spring, and foam pillows with zippered vinyl (or other "dust-proof") covers, Vinyl covers let you remove the bedding and remove dust with a damp sponge.
Wash sheets and blankets every 2-4 weeks in hot water.
Wash blinds regularly; mop the floor with damp mop each week.
Remove unnecessary toys, books, and stuffed animals

Controlling dust mites in the Home Use
1. Try to reduce the humidity in your home.
2. Wash the bedding in hot wash.
3. Make the beds later in the day. Let the air throughout the day.
4. Cover mattresses and pillows with micro-porous materials to prevent dust mites. Damp dust these coverings regularly.
5. Try to get rid of steam after a bath of shower and while cooking by opening a window if possible.
6. If possible, open windows while cleaning so that any disturbed allergens will be blown outside.
7. Never reuse vacuum cleaner bags, and if possible use a vacuum cleaner with high filtration features.
8. Stuff toys or other small items should be placed in the freezer or in a hot clothes dryer to destroy dust mites.
9. Dust mites hate sunlight so air out your home and hang out rugs or blankets on warm days.

To avoid dust mites, you can use the common dust mite barriers :-
1. Tightly woven cloth-
These can be natural fiber or a combination of natural fiber and man made fibers. The tightly woven materials have such a small pore size (openings between fibers) that dust mites and their waste cannot penetrate, yet air and moisture easily pass through for comfort.

2. Man made materials-
Materials such as polypropylene provide a unique 3 layer fabric system proven to be effective and comfortable. These materials act like a filter fabric to trap dust mites and their waste and allow air and moisture to easily pass through for comfort.

3. Vapor permeable vinyl/urethane membrane and other coatings-
This type of barrier dose not allow air flow and will cause pillow encasements to balloon around your head and force air and allergens out of zippered areas. These products may be hot on the skin, stiff and uncomfortable because they do not allow moisture from the surface of our bodies to pass through. The vinyl/urethane coating may produce an odor and release chemicals into the air from out gassing.
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