May 15th, 2010
Dust mites are one of the smallest creatures living in our households, there are no limits for their area of distribution, and the only requirement is warmth and enough food available for them. These parasites are not fastidious and very applicable to the surrounding environment that makes fighting against them rather difficult. However there are a lot of myths about dust mites without any scientific ground. The following information will help to find out the correctness of generally known facts about these insects. Maybe after reading this article you will revise your attitude to the house furniture and bedroom!
1 – 2 years old pillow contains hundreds of thousands of dead and alive mites, whose general weight is about 10% of pillow weight. Average bed can hold more than 10 million mites and up to 2.5 billion excrements.
2 – The average life span for dust mites is about three months. This species belongs to arachnid family (spiders). Dust mite is ten times thinner than human hair.
3 – Dust mites prefer soft environment, like upholstered furniture, pillows, mattresses and blankets. They avoid hard surfaces.
4 – Many cases of dust allergy is caused by dust mites, but not actually a dust. Frequent and thorough house cleaning can help to reduce the number of mites inside the house and relief the symptoms of allergy.
5 – One gram of dust is enough to maintain more than 1000 mites.
6 – One of the most effective measures to rid your house of dust mites is to use high-temperature cleaning procedures regularly.
1 – Dust mites can sting.
It is the most widespread myth about dust mites. These insects can’t sting, because they eat only dead skin flakes. If you found a rash on your body skin, this is definitely not the dust mites’ bites. This can be caused by other insects or simply allergic reaction.
2 – Direct sunlight is fatal for dust mites.
Indeed, dust mites don’t like to stay on bright sunlight. They usually hide from it deep in the soft materials. When it becomes dimmer, they appear on the surfaces again.
3 – It is possible to remove dust mites from the mattress by vacuum cleaner.
Using vacuuming you can remove only those mites that stay on the surface. Those that sitting deeper (and they are in majority) is impossible to take away by vacuuming.
4 – If to wash pillows and other bedding, dust mites may disappear.
Regular washing indeed reduces the number of dust mites in your bed, but mites can swim and many of them can stand washing procedure. Also dust mites can be found in other places of the house, so most probably they will come to bed again and again.
5 – There are no mites in my house.
Dust mites live everywhere in the world, where they can find furniture, soft surfaces and human waste products. No matter how often you clean your house, dust mites can be present in different concentrations, but they always present in people’s houses. It is an imprescriptible side-effect of our comfortable way of living with lots of furniture and carpets.
6 – I see them to the naked eye!
It is fully impossible due to microscopic sizes of these insects. Dust mites are invisible for human eye. If you think there are too many dust mites in your house, try to clean the rooms regularly with high-temperature water and vacuum cleaner. Avoid dust accumulation.
May 12th, 2010
Here you will find an overview for the allergic reactions to house dust mites and instructions on what you can do to manage them.
People usually don’t consider the house dust mites a reason for much concern, but actually the mites are the main contributor to allergies, taking the second place after pollen. House dust mites revoke a great range of such allergic reactions as watery and itching eyes, asthma, hay fever and many others.
Droppings of the house dust mites represent protein substances that cause an allergic reaction in some people when inhaled or getting in contact with their skin. The first and most widespread symptom of a house dust mite allergic reaction is considered the swelling of the respiratory passageways. The rare symptoms include headaches, red rashes and chronic fatigue.
Reducing your risk to house dust mite allergens
If you want to minimize the risk of being exposed to dust mites, you should take some measures in order to manage the dust mite population in your house.
The professionals state that bed linens should be washed at least once a week. Also the mattress sets are recommended to be encased in allergen-impermeable covers, which can be bought in speciality stores. The same steps of managing house dust mites are relevant to your pillow cases.
Besides your bed, there’re many other areas in the bedroom that can contain a great amount of dust mites, for example, your night stand or desk. It is recommended to put away knickknacks which can only attract dust, and keep flat surfaces uncluttered.
The fabric couches should be better changed for non-fabric sorts of furniture like wood or leather. Vacuum all the carpets frequently and remove thick carpeting if possible. The final tip for managing the dust mite population in your house is to keep the temperature inside your home below 70oF.
May 9th, 2010
House dust mites pictures
Dust mite farinae picture
Home dust mites picture, house dust mites photos
Dust mite farinae picture
May 9th, 2010
House-dust mites live in virtually every home. They are tiny eight-legged mites which are closely associated with people. However, they aren’t parasitic and don’t bite, burrow under the skin and don’t live in skin follicles like other kinds of mites.
The main problem about house-dust mites is that people can be allergic to them. Symptoms shown with dust mite allergies are itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, nasal stuffiness, stuffy ears, runny nose, eczema and also respiratory problems like asthma. Usually people notice the symptoms while stirring dust at the time of cleaning. However, dust don’t just contain one allergen, but also many others, including domestic animals dander, cockroach droppings, cigarette ash, mold spores and pollen.
The only way to find out whether you are allergic to house-dust mites or not is to consult an allergist – a medical doctor who was specially trained to cure allergies. The allergen parts of dust mites are their body fragments and little feces, becoming dust components. These fractions are so tiny that they can be airborne and then inhaled by people when dust is disturbed.
In North America you can find only two species of dust mites. They are so tiny that can’t be virtually visible without magnification. Their females lay eggs of a cream color. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance in order to let the eggs cling to the substrate. The house-dust mites live through 2 immature stages, and their whole life cycle from egg to an adult will take 3-4 weeks if under optimal conditions.
The mites eat animal dander, fungi, human skin scales, pollen and bacteria; they don’t drink water, but absorb it from the environment. For thriving, they need a warm and humid environment (75-80oF and 70-80% of relative humidity). The research revealed that under the humidity of 60% or less the mites stop thriving and die out.
As people constantly lose dead skin (around 1/5 ounce weekly) and spend about 1/3 of their life sleeping, the high levels of the mites can obviously be found in the bedroom, specifically in bedding and mattress. The area where family pets sleep is also under the question as house-dust mites feed on animal dander as well.
Fighting dust mites
There’s no ideal method to reduce mites and relieve allergy suffering that will ensure you 100% clean house. But you still can do your best in eliminating allergens by taking such actions as reducing dust mite populations and exposure to dust.
1. Use heat treatment. Wash all the linen every week. The study has shown that laundering in warm water (77oF) using any detergent can remove almost all cat allergen and dust mite from linen. Also launder the blankets, if possible, or dry them clean once a year. Do the same with the carpets if you still have them – they can be shampooed, steam cleaned or beaten every year.
2. Reduce the humidity. Lower humidity levels to 50% or less inside your house, particularly in the bedroom. It’s easy to do in winter, but can sometimes be hard during summer, particularly in house having no air conditioning. The researches revealed that air-conditioned houses show 10 times less dust mite allergens as compared to non-air-conditioned ones. Air conditioning doesn’t only cool the home, but also reduces the humidity thus depriving dust mites of ability to thrive. The research has also revealed that using an electric blanket for 8 hours per day can lower dust mites by 50% in a month.
3. Reduce air infiltration. When you air out your home with open windows, you invite the pollen in, and that is one more allergen and also food source for mites. Moreover, in some climates the air coming from the street may be humid, thus promoting dust mites with better living conditions.
4. Choose appropriate furnishings. Overstuffed furniture collects dust, so try to get rid of that. Do the same with wool fabrics and rugs, as the wool particles are eaten by various insects. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, and use washable rugs and curtains instead. If you can’t replace it, have it steam cleaned every springtime to prevent a concentration of dust mites eating skin cells during summer. Put pillows and mattresses in plastic in order to reduce mite populations in the bed and change feather pillows for synthetic ones.
5. Stay away from feathered or furry pets. They contribute much to the dust dander, thus providing mites with more food. If you already have them, move the pets’ sleeping area as far from your bedroom as you can. Also furnish the pets’ sleeping place in such a way that you could clean it easily. The ideal choice is vinyl or hardwood floors and washable rugs.
Reducing dust in the environment helps lowering allergens in sensitive people.
1. Dusting. Do the dusting in advance before vacuuming so to let the dust settle on the floor. Later you can pick it up from there by the vacuum. Never scatter dust, but use a damp cloth instead of dry dusting. You can also decrease airborne particles by as much as 93% as compared to dry dusting, if spraying dusting liquid or furniture polish directly on the furniture surface.
2. Vacuuming. The vacuum cleaner is the basic tool for fighting house dust and dust mites living in it. You can help keeping the house-dust mite populations low by doing regular and thorough vacuuming of all home furnishings, including textiles, draperies, carpets and furniture. The best vacuums to use are those with a water filter, as compared to cleaners having a disposable paper bag, as a water vacuum eliminates a wider range of particle sizes as compared to paper-bags. There are special vacuums, whish were designed specifically for people having allergies to dust. They contain highly efficient filters (HEPA). The best way is to vacuum thoroughly on a weekly basis rather than lightly once a day. The padded furniture and mattresses must be vacuumed extra-thoroughly for about twenty minutes each item.
3. Air purifiers. The research, carried out at the University of Texas-Austin, has revealed HEPA air filter to be considerably more effective at eliminating dust as compared to ion-generating air purifiers that work by making particles electrically charged in order to remove dust from the air. The reason for it is that ion-generating air filters emit great amounts of ozone, which can irritate the lungs and cause lots of side effects like throat irritation, chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing. As the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, ozone can aggravate such chronic respiratory diseases as asthma and also threaten the organism’s ability to fight respiratory infections. Usually vendors and manufacturers of ozone-generating devices use misleading terms when describing ozone, like “pure air” or “energized oxygen”. However, ozone is not a healthy kind of oxygen, but a toxic gas having different properties from oxygen.
Today there are no acaricides developed for dust mite control. However, tannic acid and benzyl benzoate are reported to reduce their levels. But be extremely careful when using these chemicals, as they can aggravate allergies in some people. It’s better to use non-toxic measures for people having serious allergies. Cleaning and non-chemical methods mentioned above will provide quite an adequate control, except for humid/tropical regions.
What house dust contains
Animal dander, cigarette ash, polymer foam particles, incinerator ash, salt and sugar crystals, fibers (wool, cotton, paper and silk), wood shavings, fingernail filings, fungal spores, pollen, food crumbs, glass particles, human skin scales, glue, tobacco, graphite, paint chips, animal and human hair, insect fragments, plant parts and soil.
May 5th, 2010
The symptoms of house dust mite allergy which is caused by inflammation of nasal passages may include:
-Watery, itchy or red eyes
-Itchy throat, nose or roof of mouth
-Facial pressure and pain
-Swollen, blue-colored skin under eyes
-In a kid – frequent upward rubbing of the nose
If together with experiencing asthma, there also might be:
-Chest pain or tightness
-Trouble sleeping caused by coughing, shortness of breath or wheezing
-An audible wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
-Bouts of wheezing or coughing which are aggravated by such respiratory virus as the flu or a cold
An allergy caused by the dust mites can vary from mild to severe. The first case may result in watery eyes, occasional runny nose and sneezing. But in severe situations, the person’s condition becomes ongoing (chronic), which results in persistent cough, sneezing, congestion, severe asthma attack and facial pressure.
When it’s time to visit a doctor
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognize if you have an allergy, as it may be easily confused with the common flu. Initial symptoms and signs are similar for both dust mite allergy and flu – sneezing and a runny nose. In case of these symptoms don’t eliminate after more than 1 week, consult your doctor. Also, if your symptoms are severe right from the beginning, like difficulty sleeping, wheezing or severe pain, call your doctor right away. It is recommended to seek emergency care if your condition rapidly worsens with shortness of breath and wheezing or you are short of breath with minimal activity.
More - House dust mite allergic reactions
May 3rd, 2010
Home dust mites
Dust mite picture
Home dust mite picture
Dust mites pictures
May 1st, 2010
If you’re allergic to house dust mites, then it is essential for you to keep floors clean. House dust mites are tiny organisms causing itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and stuffy noses for many people. They live in warm places and they adore carpets.
House dust mites belong to the arachnid family, which also includes spiders, chiggers and ticks, and feed on human dead skin cells. They usually live in the upholstered furniture, beds and your favorite floor covering – carpets.
If you suffer from a dust allergy, the perfect solution for you is bare floors. Dust can be easily viewed and removed with a broom or a mop on the bare floors. But if it’s impossible to remove carpets, there are still a few options available to reduce dust mites population and, consequently, dust allergy symptoms. When you vacuum carpets with a usual vacuum cleaner, chances are high that the dust will be stirred up and much of it will be released back into the air. The better choice for you in this case will be other options like central vacuums, HEPA vacuums or those with an electrostatic filter.
This type of vacuums is often considered the best one for those who suffer from allergy, as it eliminates the possibility of dirty air re-circulating around your house. The dust is moved through the walls towards the out-of-the-way container. The latter may be located somewhere in the garage or in the basement. Moreover, the dirt can be exhausted directly out of your home. You will only need to change filters or bags three or four times a year. These vacuums can also have HEPA filtration option and be retro-fitted to be installed in existing houses.
HEPA vacuum cleaners
HEPA vacuum (high-efficiency air filtration system) is different from the usual cleaner as it has a filter able to hold extremely small particles. In other words, it traps the dust right inside the filter.
The quality of such type of vacuums varies greatly. You should search for:
- pre-filter, designed to prevent the main filter being clogged with dirt and dust.
- vacuum having the HEPA filtration placed after the engine in order to make sure the exhaust is distributing allergen free air.
- washable HEPA filter.
- bag and engine parts which are entirely sealed by rubber gaskets in order to ensure there’s no leakage of the dust air.
Vacuums having an electrostatic filter
The so-called electrostatic filters work by using the electrostatically charged filtration for attracting very small particles. They produce a safe static charge by forcing the air across the filter. The principle of operation is similar to that of a magnet: the dirt and dust attract and trap tiny dust particles. Such vacuums are an effective way to trap house dust mites as well.
Regardless of what kind of vacuum cleaner you have, if it’s you who suffer from the dust allergy, then you definitely shouldn’t be the one vacuuming the house, and of course should not be the one changing the filter or bag.
Besides vacuum cleaners, there’re also some other things which can help clean the carpets from the house dust mites. They may come in the form of foams, powders and sprays and should be used on a regular basis in order to reduce dust mite population to a minimum.
House dust mite pesticides
Such pesticide as Acarosan, can kill the mites themselves and help the vacuum cleaner eliminate them, together with their droppings, from your carpet. It usually comes available in spray and powder, and needs to be used almost every month.
Tannic acid works by breaking down the allergens (including dust mites, animal dander, mold spores and pollen allergens) into innoxious materials. You can spray it directly onto the surface of upholstered furniture and carpets. Tannic acid de-activates the allergen so that it doesn’t cause allergy symptoms any longer. It works pretty fast and is quite easy to use. The only problem about it is that its effects won’t last long, as dust mites in fact remain, so the allergen builds up again. So you’ll be required to apply the product frequently. Besides, there’ve been some complaints that it may stain some upholstery fabrics and carpets, so it is recommended to do a test spot every time before applying the solution on the entire carpet.
April 30th, 2010
Your doctor may make a conclusion on dust mite allergy which is based on examination of your nose, symptoms and your comments.
The doctor may look at the lining of your nose using the lighted instrument. It will show if you have an allergy to airborne particles – in this case the lining of your nasal passage may be pale or bluish and will be swollen.
Your doctor may also make a conclusion on dust mite allergy depending on your answers to some questions. For instance, if the symptoms worsen when you are about to go to bed or during cleaning the house – that’s exactly when house dust mite allergens are temporarily airborne – that’s a clear sign that you have allergy to dust mites.
Also, if you have pets, which are another usual source of allergies, it will probably be more complicated to reveal the cause of your allergy, especially if your pet usually sleeps in the same bedroom as you do. It will be easier to determine the true source of the allergy after you take some steps aimed at reducing the amounts of the potential allergens in your house.
Allergy skin test
Your doctor will probably suggest you to perform an allergy skin test in order to find out the exact cause of your allergy. You will be referred to an allergist (allergy specialist) for performing this test. There the smallest drops of some allergen extracts, including those for house dust mites, will be pricked onto the surface of your skin. The area of skin is usually a forearm, or sometimes the upper back. These drops will be left on the skin for fifteen minutes before observing it for symptoms of allergic reaction. So if you appear to be allergic to house dust mites, then you will get a red itchy bump on your skin right on the place the dust mite extract was pricked. The only side effect of such skin tests is redness and itching, but it usually goes away within half an hour.
However, in certain cases a skin test cannot be performed because of some interactions with specific medications or because of the skin condition. In such case your doctor may suggest you to perform a blood test as an alternative. It will screen for certain allergy-causing antibodies for different common allergens, this including house dust mites. This blood test will also be able to reveal your sensitivity to an allergen.
April 28th, 2010
The best treatment for managing dust mite allergy is to avoid the mites as much as you can. If you reduce your exposure to house dust mites, it will make you experience less often or less severe allergic reactions. But you are not able to entirely remove house dust mites from your environment, so you will probably also need some medications to manage symptoms.
Your doctor may suggest you to take one of the medications listed below in order to improve nasal allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines can reduce production of a chemical in your body which is normally active in an allergic reaction. It will relieve sneezing, itching and runny nose. Antihistamine pills prescribed contain fexofenadine (Allegra) and desloratadine (Clarinex). Prescription antihistamine which is used as a nasal spray is Azelastine (Astelin). You can also find over-the-counter antihistamine pills like Claritin or Zyrtec available, and antihistamine syrups for kids.
Decongestants will help you shrink the swollen tissues in the nasal passages, thus making it easier to breathe with your nose. Some of the nonprescription allergy tablets contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant. However, oral decongestants sometimes increase blood pressure, so you shouldn’t take them if you have some cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. It can also worsen the condition in men having an enlarged prostate. Always consult your doctor to find out if you can safely take a decongestant.
Nonprescription decongestants in the form of a nasal spray can briefly reduce allergy symptoms. But if used for over 3 days in a row, spray can contribute to congestion.
Corticosteroids in the form of a nasal spray are able to decrease inflammation and manage symptoms of allergic rhinitis. It contains mometasone furoate (Nasonex) and fluticasone (Flonase). As nasal corticosteroids contain a very low dose of the drug, they aren’t associated with the risk of long-term taking of oral corticosteroids.
Leukotriene modifiers can block the action of specific immune system chemicals. You may be prescribed this montelukast (Singulair) tablet in case of inability to tolerate corticosteroid or antihistamine nasal sprays. The drug may have side effects including headache, and sometimes cough, dizziness, abdominal and dental pain.
Cromolyn sodium as an over-the-counter nasal spray helping reduce the symptoms by preventing the release of an immune system chemical. It needs to be used several times a day, and has the best effect before symptoms and signs develop. The drug doesn’t have any serious side effects.
A series of allergy shots, called immunotherapy, may “train” the immune system to be insensitive to allergens. 1-2 shots every week will expose you to tiny allergen doses – in our case, to the dust mite protein which actually causes an allergic reaction. The dose will be gradually enlarged, usually within a 3-6-month period. Then maintenance shots will be needed every month for 3-5 years. This kind of therapy is normally used after other simple treatments appeared to be not satisfactory.
Nasal lavage is another sort of treatment. It is the use of a saline (saltwater) rinse for your nasal passages. It may be suggested to you by your doctor to help lessen sneezing, congestion and postnasal drip. To administer a rinse, you can buy nonprescription saline sprays or kits with bulb syringes devices. You can even prepare your own solution – mix 1/4 teaspoon (1.2 ml) of salt with two cups (0.5
April 28th, 2010
House dust mites are tiny organisms burrowing into the linen that is usually used daily. They feed on dead skin cells from people and animals, and can be usually found in blankets, mattresses and your favorite pillows. They are usually invisible unless creating a serious infestation. The first signs of house dust mites living in your bed are tiny blood spots seen on the mattress cover, or probably on the linen, in case of infestation is severe.
To remove dust mites from feather pillows you will need two or three tennis balls, vacuum cleaner having detachable or upholstery hose, dust mite pillow cover, washer and dryer.
1. Hot wash the pillows in wash-and-rinse cycles in your washing machine. This procedure can kill the main part of the mites and rinse away the major part of their droppings.
2. After washing put your pillows into the dryer with 2 or 3 tennis balls – they will help fluff the feathers in the pillows during the process of drying. It is recommended to dry the pillows in a hot regime, because some dust mites could have survived after washing.
3. After drying turn on the vacuum cleaner and completely vacuum the pillow exterior using an upholstery hose. Vacuuming will help to finally suck out all the remaining house dust mites. Also a good idea is to vacuum your bed and the place around it in order to remove the dust mites thriving in your carpeting and mattress.
4. Finally, unzip the dust mite pillow cover and enclose your feather pillow in it. Zip the cover back and put it back on the bed.