What is dust? What are dust mites? Why so many dust mites?
What is dust?
Dust is made up of molds, fungus, bacteria, pollen, dust mites, dust mite feces and particles shed by people and animals known as dander. The most damaging to our health are dust mite fecal pallets, which contain guanine. This substance is a health hazard that can trigger allergic reactions. A larger number of allergy sufferer’s react to the allergens created by dust mites. Symptoms range from itchy and watery eyes to sinus aggravations such as sneezing blocked sinuses, coughing, hay fever and skin problems such as eczema. Some people experience headaches, depression and fatigue, which can also be related to the inhalation of these organisms found in dust.
Dust mites feed on molds, bacteria, and human skin scales. Dust mites cannot feed on dander until it is partially digested by an aspergillus fungus.
Mattress environments are ideal for the perfect dust mite habitat since they are warm, moist and provide a constant daily renewable source of skin scales and moisture to feed these microscopic creatures. Humans shed about 1/5 ounce of dander weekly. Some of these allergens become airborne with movement on our beds stirring up the dust which accumulates in our mattresses and bedding.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are related to ticks and spiders. They have 8 legs, no eyes, and a sucker for a mouth in front of their body. They have been described as walking stomachs. They are translucent and are invisible to the human eye since they measure 250 to 300 microns in length.
Optimum conditions for dust mites are temperatures of 20-25 degrees C and humidity’s over 55%. One female dust mites can lay up to 100 eggs. Highest mite densities occur in the humid weather months. Dust mites absorb water; they do not drink which is why they require moisture in their environment. Humans release up to one pint of moisture nightly providing ideal moisture for dust mite survival. It is not unusual to count up to 2,500 mites in only one tiny gram of dust. Each dust mite produces about 20 particles of feces every day. A typical double mattress can have one millions mites alive & feeding at any given time. Dust mite feces, containing a substance known as quanine, continues to cause allergic symptoms long after the mite that produced them has died.
Why so many dust mites?
Dust mites have been found throughout the world. At least 13 species have been recorded from house dust although Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (skin eating mites) makes up the majority of total house mite population. Dust mites are invisible to the naked eye. They are found mostly in moist and warm environments like our bedding, upholstery and carpets. The main sources of nutrients are flakes of skin or dander. Since humans shed large quantities of skin scales daily, mites have an abundant food supply.
We spend one third of our lives on our mattresses and pillows making this the most unsanitary environment we are in constant contact with. Our mattresses are an Ecosystem for dust mites, bacteria, viruses and fungal spores. Studies have counted up to 2,500 mites in only one gram of dust, which translates to one million mites in a double size mattress.
When we move around our beds, the fine particles created from the dust mite’s droppings become airborne which can trigger an allergic reaction. An ordinary pillow can double it’s weight every 2-3 years in dust mites, their eggs and feces.