Dust mites are found in most homes. They are microscopic, eight-legged creatures that live in close proximity to humans, but they are not parasites. They don’t bite or sting, burrow under the skin like scabies mites or live in skin follicles like skin follicle mites. They do, however, feed primarily off of human and animal dander, or skin scales, that have been shed.
Dust Mite Allergies
The concern about dust mites is that many people are allergic to them. As much as 10% of the general population and 90% of people with asthma are sensitive to dust mites. The mites themselves, their cast skins, their feces and their other secretions contain strong allergens that become components of dust. These particles are so small they easily become airborne and inhaled when dust is disturbed. Many people notice allergy symptoms when they stir up dust during cleaning activities.
Symptoms associated with dust mite allergies include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, stuffy ears, coughing and other respiratory problems. In more severe cases, dust mites can exacerbate asthma and eczema conditions. Dust allergies are different from seasonal allergies, such as those to mold and pollen, because they are present all year round. How can you find out if you’re allergic to dust mites? Consult an allergist or a medical doctor specially trained to treat allergies.
Dust Mite Control
Because of their small size, it’s difficult to completely remove dust mites from your home. Instead, you can take actions to reduce dust mite populations as much as possible. Here are some ways to do so:
- Lower your home’s humidity. Reduce humidity levels to less than 50 percent inside your home, especially in the bedroom. Studies have shown air-conditioned homes have ten times fewer dust mite allergens than non-air-conditioned homes. In addition to cooling the house, air conditioning reduces the humidity dust mites need to thrive.
- Avoid furry or feathered pets. Pets with fur or feathers contribute to dander in the dust, thereby increasing food sources for mites. If you are a pet lover, locate their sleeping quarters as far from yours as possible and furnish their sleeping area so it can be cleaned easily. Hardwood or vinyl floors with washable area rugs are best.
- Reduce air infiltration. Airing out the house with open windows allows the entry of pollen, which is another allergen and food source for dust mites. In some climates, incoming air may be humid, which promotes dust mites.
- Cleaning. Wash all bedding weekly. Research has shown laundering with any detergent in warm water (77 degrees F) removes nearly all dust mites and pet allergens from bedding. If you cannot launder certain blankets or comforters, dry clean them once a year. Shampoo, steam clean or beat non-washable carpets once a year.
- Choice of furniture. Avoid overstuffed furniture because it collects dust. Also avoid wool fabrics/rugs because wool sheds particles and is eaten by other insects. Use washable curtains and rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. If you cannot replace carpeting, have it steam cleaned at least once a year — springtime is best. This will prevent a buildup of dust mites feeding on skin cells in the carpet during the summertime. Use mattress and pillow protectors to decrease mite populations in the bed. Replace feather pillows with synthetic ones.
Aerex Has the Solution
Aerex technicians understand the habits of dust mites and use that knowledge when developing a dust mite control program, which is best suited to your home and your particular problem. Our technicians are professional, state certified, licensed applicators.
At Aerex we pride ourselves on fast, responsive service every day. All appointments are scheduled at times that are convenient for you. Call us for a free consultation at 847-255-8888.
Did you know
18% to 30% of Americans are allergic to dust mites’ waste products, and almost 50% of American homes have allergen levels that are high enough to cause sensitivity in people who weren’t previously allergic to dust mites. In other words, high levels of dust mites and their waste can cause previously non-allergic people to develop an allergy.