Enlarged View of a Dust Mite

This is a dust mite

Dust mites are not insects but are more closely related to spiders and ticks. They are microscopic and feed mostly on dead skin. They infest beds and carpets by the tens of millions, and there can be as many as 1,000 mites in one gram of dust.

Dust mites are harmless to most people. They don’t carry diseases, but they can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their feces. Dust mites are second only to pollen in causing allergic reactions.

They are a major problem because they can cause some wheezing, itching, other allergic reactions, and possibly asthma. Dust mites are considered to be the most common cause of asthma and allergic symptoms worldwide.

Dust mites are everywhere in your home, in your carpet, the clothes in your closet, your couches, and even in your bed.

The presence of house dust mites does not indicate a lack of cleanliness. The enzymes they produce can be smelled most strongly in full vacuum cleaner bags.

The dust mite is very small and cannot be seen by the naked eye. It does not have eyes, or an organized breathing system. They are unable to drink and live between 90-120 days. The dust mite can leave up to twenty droppings a day. The dust mite has the ability to receive nourishment from its own droppings. The ideal breeding environment for dust mites are warm, damp and dark places.

The average life cycle for a male dust mite is 20 to 30 days, while a mated female dust mite can live for 10 weeks, laying 60 to 100 eggs in the last 5 weeks of her life. In a 10 week life span, a dust mite will produce approximately 2000 fecal particles and an even larger number of partially digested enzyme-infested dust particles.

It is possible to see a dust mite under a magnifying glass, when the subject is well lit and placed on a black background. A typical house dust mite measures 420 microns in length and 250 to 320 microns wide. Both male and female adult house dust mites are globular in shape and are creamy white. Larval and post-larval stages of house dust mites have eight legs. Dust mites can be transported airborne by the minor air currents generated by normal household activities.

The good news is that dust mites, and other airborne allergens in the home such as pollen, pet dander, and various gaseous chemicals, can be effectively controlled through proper air purification. True medical-grade HEPA filtration is the most effective means of controlling household allergens, removing 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size and larger (dust mite feces average 0.3 to 10 microns in size). For many, relief from symptoms can begin as little as 24 hours after the purchase and installation of a high quality HEPA air cleaner.

In addition to purchasing a quality HEPA filter, there are a number of other things you can do to reduce your exposure to dust mite allergens:

  • wash your bed sheets in HOT water frequently

  • purchase special pillow cases and sheets that are dust mite resistant

  • do not let your pets sleep in your bedroom

  • use a quality HEPA equipped vacuum cleaner frequently

  • remove bedroom carpets and heavy drapes that can trap dander

Given that your family’s health and well being are at stake, the small investment in a quality air cleaner is well worth it.

Visit this page for more info on HEPA air cleaners.

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