You can’t see them but you may be reacting to them. Dust mites and their waste products. They are busy living in our homes, no matter how clean we keep the house. They thrive in temperatures of 68 to 77 degrees and enjoy a relative humidity of 70 to 80 percent.
These tiny bugs feed on the miniature skin flakes that humans shed naturally each day. An adult may shed as much as 1.5 grams of skin in 24 hours, enough to feed 1 million of these minute creatures.
What does a dust mite allergy feel like?
The usual reaction to dust mites and their waste products is sneezing and a runny nose. It can even escalate to asthma with wheezing and difficulty breathing. You could notice itchy, red, watery eyes. With nasal congestion you could have postnasal drip which could also lead to a cough. When sinuses are not draining well you could develop facial pressure and pain.
The level of your allergy can be variable. Some people are only bothered when the number of mites is very high, while others are allergic to the presence of only a few.
What can you do about these bugs?
You would have to live in very extreme conditions such as the Antarctic or a desert in order to avoid these critters completely. There really is no practical way to rid your home of them, but you can lessen their effects. Trying to keep your home as free of dust as possible does help to decrease the allergy.
Bedrooms are notorious for being dens of dust mites, and we spend quite a bit of time there. Vacuuming is not enough to get the bugs out. As many as 95 percent of mites will still be present after a hearty vacuuming of a room. They hide inside of the mattress and pillows, along with the stuffing of chairs and deep in carpeting. Covering mattresses and pillows with zippered dust-proof covers can keep the little creatures out of your bed, along with clean sheets and pillowcases on a weekly basis. When washing, a temperature of at least 130 degrees F is needed to kill any mites present. Consider removing wall-to-wall carpeting, use washable throw rugs instead. Down comforters are very difficult to get mites out of. How strict you need to be about what is allowed in your bedroom will depend on how strong your allergy is.
When cleaning there are special masks available to filter the air you breathe. It will take about 2 hours before everything will settle down after vacuuming and dusting. Special filters for vacuum cleaners are available that can keep the mites and mite waste from going back into the air. How far you will need to go with your dust mite battle will depend on how bad your allergy is.
Products such as DustMitex can be used to clean in your home, including your laundry, to kill the mites. It works on any water-safe fabric. This treatment works to not only kill the mites but also to destroy the allergens that they have produced, which is important. This will help you feel better faster and will be more thorough than just killing the mites.
If you are bothered by dust mites you are not alone. You will need to work at keeping the mites out of your main environment, your home. Usual allergy treatments such as antihistamines will help you when away from home. If you are having problems conquering the dust mite allergy on your own, consult with your physician for more help.