Dust mites are everywhere, even in your home! House dust mites, or Dermatohagoides pteronissinus are unfortunately invisible to bare eyes due to their small size of just 0,2-0,3mm. When looked under a microscope they resemble a spider. After flower pollen, dust mites are the biggest causes of allergy among general population. They are parasites who belong to family of Arthropodous.
They feed on dried human and animal dander, excess particles of skin shed form the body or hair, and with various different organic materials found in common household (flour or pasta particles, crumbs etc). They do not posses stomach, they secrete enzymes and certain proteins and cover their food with it, which is after absorption left as excrement. That is one of the most potent allergens and it’s very harmful to humans. Since an average human sheds about 1,5g of skin daily, theoretically that is enough to feed around one million of dust mites. Average lifespan of male dust mite is around 30 days, while females live around 70 days and lay 60 to 100 eggs during that time. From just one dust mite around 2000 particles of excrement and even more particles of infected dust are released into surroundings. Even after dust mites themselves had died their body particles and fecal material remain as potent allergens in your household.
You share your comfortable bedroom with millions of them, since you unintentionally provide them with perfect living conditions: constant temperature of around 20oC (68oF), relatively high value of air humidity between 60 and 80 percent and you also provide humidity in their immediate surroundings by your normal human perspiration, especially during sleep. They are not resistant to direct sunlight, so they hide into furniture and carpets, where they are not directly exposed to it. Only homes on extreme latitudes are free of dust mites, where they can’t reproduce. If you keep air humidity below 50% their metabolisms slows down, ant they might even die. They absorb water from the air directly.
Allergic reactions that dust mites cause can have many various symptoms including asthma attacks, rhinitis, hay fever, itching, headaches, fatigue, rashes, eczema and they even might be a contributing factor for depression.
Their favorite places to colonize are beds, pillows, blankets, bed sheets, coverlets, carpets, curtains, couches, padded chairs and other furniture. It is not possible to ever get rid of them completely, but following couple of simple steps can drastically reduce their numbers:
- Use bed sheets made of hypoallergenic materials, to reduce levels of both dust mites and other common allergens. Synthetic fibers are not good choice since they don’t absorb sweat and increase of humidity around a sleeping person is ideal for dust mites to grow in.
- Wash your sheets at least once a week, using temperature of at least 60oC since that is the minimal temperature necessary to kill dust mites.
- Clean your bedroom regularly and choose your furniture wisely. Flat wooden surfaces are easy to clean regularly and by doing that you reduce dust levels in your bedroom, which reduces levels of all allergens. Excess decorations are not necessary in your sleeping area.
- Remove all thick carpets from the area you sleep in and be careful not to have heavy draped curtains.
- Children plush toys must be washed regularly, on adequate temperatures, they are ideal hiding place for dust mites, and they can seriously endanger your child. It can help to occasionally put them in a freezer overnight.
- Cold and dry places are closest possible to being dust mites free, so air out your bedroom every day, and keep it cool.
Modern bed equipment materials are more efficient in fighting dust mites, and best memory foam mattress topper are extremely helpful. Memory foam is very dense and therefore resistant to mites burrowing themselves deep in its surface, as opposed to fluffy materials. Traditional mattresses made of wool or cotton can potentially be an additional source of food for mites, since they’re able to digest organic fibers. Memory foam toppers protect your mattresses underneath them both from colonization and from destruction. Mites can’t nest and thrive in them and are forced to stay on the surface of the topper, which can be easily taken off and left on direct sunlight to kill the remaining dust mites and they can be washed in washing machines. That means that the surface where you lay your body to rest every night and that touches your face constantly is exposed to drastically less amounts of dust mites. Less dust mites automatically means less health issues and better and more relaxing sleeping conditions.
You must utilize every strategy possible to fight dust mites, and buying of memory foam toppers is a very effective and easy way. Your bedroom should be only yours, and not shared with millions of tiny dangerous creatures.