The house dust mite is a an arachnid not visible to the naked eye. Measuring approximately 0.4 by 0.3 millimeters on average dust mites live in upholstered furniture, carpets, and, most frequently, bedding. Dust mites prefer humid climates averaging around 70 degree Fahrenheit. They feed primarily on flakes of shed human skin and pet dander. Dust mites are a common cause of allergies and, for some, are the primary cause of asthma. Dust mite allergies can be treated with strategies to reduce exposure.
Dust mite allergies are fairly common. Typically allergy sufferers are having a reaction to the dust mite fecal matter. When inhaled it causes an allergic reaction in the nasal passages causing inflammation. This inflammation causes sneezing, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, cough, nasal congestion, and other symptoms consistent with pollen allergies or hay fever.
In addition to the allergic reaction that can be caused by exposure to dust mites, those suffering from asthma may have it triggered by dust mite exposure. The same reaction that causes the hay fever-like symptoms for the allergic can lead to the inflammation and contraction of airways leading to the lungs. As they can trigger asthma attacks seeking ways to minimize exposure is important for those suffering from asthma.
Treating dust mite allergies is a strategy of reducing exposure. As dust mites primarily reside in bedding and the average person can spend up to 1/3 of their life in bed, controlling exposure in the bedroom should be a primary goal. Covering mattresses and pillows with dust mite proof covers and replacing bedding materials with synthetics are key steps to reducing exposure to dust mites. In addition to covers and synthetic fabrics and materials, washing bedding at very high temperatures, around 130 degrees fahrenheit, at least every two weeks will help to reduce dust mite exposure. HEPA filters and maintaining a clean environment in the home will also go a long way to reducing exposure.
Dust mites may be invisible to the naked eye but their presence is felt keenly by those who suffer dust mite allergies. The key to treating dust mite allergies or asthma attacks induced by dust mite exposure is reduction of exposure.