You 'Mite' Not Like the Truth

It’s cringeworthy, but you may be co-existing with dust mites which are common triggers for allergies in many people. 

By Joe Castignani

It’s cringeworthy to think about, but you may be co-existing with dust mites, which are found in most homes. Dust mites, microscopic creatures that live in dust, thrive in warm, humid environments, so your bedroom is a prime breeding ground. Yes, your bedroom!

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are tiny arachnids, related to spiders and ticks. They are so small that they can only be seen with a microscope. They don’t bite people or burrow under the skin. Rather, dust mites feed on dead skin cells, which are shed by humans and animals.

Where do dust mites live?

Dust mites often live in pillows, furniture, and carpetThey love dust (hence the name), which is a mixture of dead skin cells, dirt, and other organic matter. Dust mites are commonly found in bedrooms and other areas where people spend a lot of time.

Do dust mites cause allergies?

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, "dust mites may be the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma.” People who are allergic to dust mites may experience sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing, or asthma attacks. These symptoms are almost identical to other allergens in our homes and environment, so it may be impossible to tell if you have dust mite allergies. But it makes good sense to do a little Dust Mite Spring Cleaning to lessen the possibility of an allergic reaction to the pesky little arachnids.

How do I spring clean for dust mites?

There are a few things you can do to help reduce the number of dust mites in your home:

  • Wash your bedding in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) at least once a week. Don’t forget the stuffed animals too! 
  • Vacuum your mattress, box spring, and other upholstered furniture regularly.
  • Use a humidifier or dehumidifier to control the humidity in your home. Dust mites thrive in humid environments, so keeping the humidity in your home low may help to reduce their population.
  • Encase your mattress and pillows in dust-mite-proof covers.
  • Replace carpets. Carpeting should be removed from the home, especially if occupants are allergic to dust mites. Damp clean floors often, focusing on catching dirt and dust without wet mopping.
  • Dust regularlyDust regularly to reduce the amount of dust and improve overall indoor air quality in your home.

What have we learned?

Dust mites live in most homes and are most likely to be found in bedrooms. However, by utilizing regular cleaning techniques and controlling the humidity in your home, it’s possible to reduce the population and lessen the possibility of allergic reactions to the pesky creatures.

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Dream big, work hard, sleep ambitiously,

Joe Castignani