DUST MITES IN THE HOME

Dust mites in the home will affect most households at some point, they live in many homes throughout the world. And thrive in warm, humid environments where they can survive year round. In addition, they are commonly found in carpets, soft furnishings, bedding, clothing and even stuffed toys.

House dust mites are tiny creatures around a quarter of a millimetre long. There are approximately thirteen species of mites all of which are well suited to living within your home environment.

Although we are unable to see dust mites in the home with the naked eye they cause many health problems. Dust mites are a leading cause of year-round allergies such as eczema and allergic rhinitis and even asthma.

Furthermore, these microscopic mites feed on tiny flakes of human skin that people shed daily. On average a person may shed enough skin in one day to feed one million dust mites.

Also, it is often the proteins in the dust mite’s droppings that cause an allergic reaction rather than the mite itself. When the humidity levels are low most house dust mite will die, unfortunately there dead bodies and droppings are left behind. Therefore, still causing allergic reactions long after they have died.

Common symptoms of dust mite allergy
  • Inflamed, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Irritated Skin
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy Nose

5.4 million People in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children and 4.3 million adults (Asthma UK, 2017)

Top Tips

Studies show that the bedroom is significantly more exposed to dust mites than any other room in the house, particularly the bed. When creating a prevention plan you should look firstly are the areas of your home that are mostly used, such as bedrooms and living rooms. Therefore, carpets, sofas, soft furnishings and soft toys need the closest inspection.

Some of the following tips can help lessen the allergic effects of dust mite in the home. Firstly, you can use allergen-proof barrier covers on mattresses, duvets and pillows, which prevent the escape of dust mite allergen.

Secondly, regularly wash all bedding at 60 degrees centigrade or above to kill dust mites. Finally, vacuum carpets regularly using a high filtration cleaner such as a HEPA as these remove a high proportion of tiny particles.

For more information on allergy and asthma triggers within the home. Refer to our article about “How pet dander in the home can affect your health”