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Busy Bee – Reduce Dust Mites With House Cleaning
Household dust can be a big pain to deal with. It might seem like no matter how often you dust the house, there is always more to do. Dust can be especially problematic for those that suffer from allergies; in particular allergies to dust mites. Dust mite parts have been determined to be one of the biggest irritants when it comes to dust allergies. While you may not be able to completely rid your space of dust mites, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the amount of dust mites in your house which will in turn decrease the irritants that bother people with dust allergies.
What are Dust Mites?
House dust mites are tiny arthropods that are related to spiders. Due to their minuscule size and the fact that they have translucent bodies, they are generally not visible to the naked eye. In order to positively identify dust mites, it will take at least 10x magnification. House dust mites all have eight legs, hence them belonging to the arthropod family.
Dust Mite Habitat & Lifecycle
Unfortunately, dust mites can survive in just about any climate. They do, however, thrive more in indoor environments. Dust mites can generally be found in carpets, bedding, furniture, and mattresses. They thrive in mattresses and furniture because they consume organic matter such as dead skin, and other tiny particles. Dust mites are considered decomposers and will pick food that has already been partially decomposed. Male dust mites only live an average of ten to nineteen days while females can live up to 70 days. Females will lay approximately sixty to one hundred eggs in the last five weeks of their life cycle. During the lifespan of a dust mite, they will produce approximately 2,000 particles made up of fecal matter and even more partially digested, dust particles covered in enzymes.
Common Misconceptions Regarding Dust Mites
When it comes to dust mites, there are some common misconceptions that people have. It is commonly thought that the pieces of dead dust mites can significantly add to the weight of both pillows and mattresses. There have been studies that have both disputed and supported this claim so while it may be true, more research is necessary to find a definitive answer. It was also previously thought that feather pillows led to an increase in the amount of dust mites in the house. This however is not the case and the reverse has actually been proven. Feather pillows contain much less dust and therefore less dust mites than fiber pillows.
Effects on Asthma and Allergies
Dust mites are a pest in particular to those suffering from allergies. The allergens that dust mites produce have been proven to be among the most common triggers of asthma, and also serve to irritate allergies. Due to the fact that dust mites cannot be completely removed from a space, symptoms resulting from dust mite allergens must be counteracted with the use of corticosteroids, antihistamines, and other medications. Allergy immunotherapy is also being studied in regards to allergies and dust mites.
Can Dust Mites Be Eradicated?
It can be near impossible to completely eradicate dust mites from a home. They reproduce so quickly that they are hard to control and can have a significant impact on human health. Dust mites on bedding can be killed by placing the bedding in the dryer for ten minutes on the highest setting; they thrive in moist places and cannot tolerate dry, high heat. Those with allergies to dust mites may also want to consider getting rid of carpets and instead installing tile or hardwood floors. Disodium octaborate tetrahyde (DOT) will also kill dust mites but use of DOT can cause side effects such as irritation of the eyes. When cleaning the house, in order to ensure you are not just pushing dust around, consider using a damp cloth or microfiber cloth that will trap dust particles instead of stirring them up.
Dust mites can be a big nuisance but with proper house cleaning, the amount of them can be greatly reduced. Regular dusting, vacuuming, and washing of fabrics will help cut down on dust mites. There is continuing research being performed to learn more about dust mites, their effects on allergies and asthma, and how to treat these issues.
Last modified: April 9, 2018