Q: I hear a lot of talk about dust and dust mites. Is the one a fancy term for the other? Or are they different?
A: This one confuses everyone at one point or another. Much like the bear and the teddy bear, dust and dust mites have little in common except a name and a few spare body parts. (We'll explain).
Dust mites are actually living creatures. A diminutive relative of spiders and ticks, they are invisible to the naked eye. They live in bedding, carpets, stuffed animals, and similar cushy surfaces. Thankfully, they don't live on people, only near them. A gross fact: they actually feed on the dead skin particles shed by human bodies, and they thrive in humid environments. An even grosser fact: these nasty habits make them love your bedding.
Now, it is not actually the dust mites themselves which cause allergic symptoms. Because they are alive, they are difficult to inhale. Instead, it is dust mite waste particles and fragments of dead dust mites which cause allergies.
Which brings us to dust