Dust mites are microscopic creatures that can be found in almost every home in the United States. They thrive in warm, humid environments and feed on the skin cells shed by humans. Dust mites can live on mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, rugs, and curtains, and their presence is linked to an increase in the severity of asthma symptoms. In this article, we'll explore where dust mites live and how to reduce their numbers in your home. Dust mites are almost everywhere; about four out of five homes in the United States have dust mite allergens in at least one bed.
Dust mite habitats often include dust found on carpets, curtains, fabric-covered furniture, beds, and pillows found throughout the house. Dust mites, close relatives of ticks and spiders, are too small to see without a microscope. Dust mites eat the skin cells shed by people and thrive in warm, humid environments. In most homes, items such as bedding, upholstered furniture, and rugs provide an ideal environment for dust mites. However, thorough, routine vacuuming can help eliminate dust, dandruff, and a small percentage of mites.
People with dust mite allergies or with asthma caused by dust mite allergy should reduce the amount of dust mites in their home.
Where Do Dust Mites Live?Mattresses, sofas, rugs, and other soft furniture trap and accumulate dust, dandruff, and moisture, making them ideal microhabitats for dust mites to develop. Vacuuming and cleaning activities have not proven to be very beneficial in reducing mite populations or in eliminating their allergenic materials (feces, gypsum skins, cadavers).There are two common species in the United States: the North American house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) and the European house dust mite (D. pteronyssinus). The second approach often used in conjunction with treating patients is to minimize exposure to mites and their allergenic materials inside the home.
Emphasis should be placed on bedrooms, mattresses, and other places where dust mites are likely to live.
How to Reduce Dust Mite AllergensWhile benzyl benzoate kills dust mites, there is a lack of clinical trials showing significant improvement in allergy symptoms. Instead, people who are allergic to dust or dust mites react by inhaling dust proteins that come from feces, urine, or the decaying bodies of dust mites. Most homes in the United States are likely to have detectable levels of house dust mites and their allergy-causing fragments. If you take steps to reduce the number of dust mites in your home, you can control dust mite allergy. Studies designed to locate and identify dust mites show that between 30 and 80 percent of the households included in the study had mites inside.
Tips for Reducing Dust Mite AllergensRemoving heavy accumulations of dust and dirt from air ducts can be beneficial but should be considered secondary to other allergy reduction measures such as vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner or using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels below 50%.
The allergenic proteins responsible for causing symptoms are found in the mites themselves (living or dead), in their detached skin and especially in their feces.
ConclusionDust mites are microscopic creatures that can be found almost everywhere. They thrive in warm humid environments and feed on human skin cells. Dust mite allergens can be found in four out of five homes across the United States. To reduce exposure to these allergens it is important to take steps such as vacuuming regularly with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner or using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels below 50%.
By following these steps you can help control your dust mite allergy.