What Are Dust Mites?
While they may look like insects in the magnified photographs, house dust mites are actually arachnids, related to spiders. Because they are too small to be
seen with the human eye, nobody knew about dust mites until Anton van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope in 1694. Shocked and horrified to find tiny bugs
living all around him, Leeuwenhoek called them "little animals."
The scientific name for house dust mites, Dermatophagoides, means "skin eater" - and that's exactly what they do. Since dead human skin accounts
for the majority of house dust, a small clump of dust is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for dust mites. They're so small that a half teaspoon of dust can
contain as many as 1,000 dust mites.
Dust mites love mattresses. They find everything they need in your bed: warmth, moisture, and a never-ending supply of food (that's you).
Depending on its age, your mattress
may contain between 100,000 and 10,000,000 dust mites. Dust mite populations increase rapidly; each egg-laying female can increase the population by 25 or 30 new mites per week. The weight of
the average mattress doubles after ten years due to dust mite infestation, and the weight of the average pillow increases 10% after one year. If you often wake up with congestion, a runny nose,
watery eyes, itching, or sneezing, then you're most likely allergic to dust mites.
Dust Mite Allergy
|As with any allergy, symptoms appear when the immune system mistakes a normally harmless protein for a foreign invader; this protein that causes the
reaction is known as the allergen. In the case of dust mite allergy, the allergen is an enzyme that helps mites digest skin. The enzyme, found in dust mite
feces, not only helps digest dead skin flakes, but it also destroys the protective function of our living, intact skin, leaving it vulnerable to other
allergens and irritants. The enzyme may cause allergic reactions when it touches the skin or when it's inhaled. During its 80-day lifespan, the average
dust mite produces about 1,000 allergenic waste particles. Returning to the example in the previous section, that half teaspoon of dust with 1,000 dust
mites would contain about 250,000 allergenic waste particles.
Dust Mite Covers - Dust Mite Bedding
though dust mites are so small that three of them could fit inside the period at the end of this sentence, we have
developed dust mite covers in which the pores (spaces in the fabric) are
much smaller. When you encase your mattress and pillows with Allergy Armor, our
exclusive allergy relief bedding, neither dust mites nor their allergenic waste particles can
penetrate the barrier covers. Or use the
Allergy Armor Ultra Pillow, which has been constructed with
Allergy Armor fabric and doesn't require an additional encasing. And after you cut off the dust mites from their source of food (your skin)
they will soon die. Allergy Armor Ultra Pillows, however, do not require dust
mite encasings because they're made with material that's
impenetrable to dust mites. See our Allergy Relief Bedding Buying Guide
to learn more about effectiveness, pore sizes, fabric types, and more.
If you are sensitive to dust mites, you will want to encase your box springs with a vinyl box spring cover
and examine other items on your bed that may harbor dust mites. To protect your comforter or duvet from infestation, use an
Allergy Armor Cotton comforter cover. Lightweight,
soft, and hypoallergenic, Vellux blankets have also been a long-time favorite among allergy sufferers.
you are looking for a new mattress, consider treating yourself to the best sleep imaginable with a
Certified Organic Latex Mattress. The latex core not only conforms to your body to relive painful pressure on the spine, but it
is also naturally resistant to dust mites and other allergens.
Dust Mite Control
Other methods of dust mite control revolve around controlling your environment and making it unlivable for dust mites. If you take away their food and
moisture, they cannot survive. Allergy bedding protects your mattress and pillows, but dust
mites also live in carpet, upholstery, and other places where dust collects. Vacuum often with a HEPA vacuum cleaner
and clean/dust all surfaces in your home to reduce the number of dust mites. A HEPA
filter is a "High Efficiency Particulate Air" filter, guaranteed to trap at least 99.97% of allergenic particles. If you're using a vacuum cleaner that does not have a
HEPA filter, then you're just moving the allergens around and not really trapping them. Anti-allergen carpet powders & sprays
will help get rid of the allergens, as well as anti allergen laundry detergents & laundry additives.
HEPA air purifiers effectively filter the air of dust, mold, pollen, animal dander, and other allergens. If you
are an allergy sufferer who is thinking about purchasing an air purifier,
you must avoid ionic air cleaners that emit ozone. Ozone is
a powerful lung irritant that can lead to asthma attacks or other breathing problems, yet many popular "air cleaners" actually pollute
the air with ozone. See our Air Purifier Buying Guide to learn more.
Dehumidifiers reduce the number of dust mites and mold spores
in your home by eliminating excess moisture in the air. Dust mites cannot survive without adequate levels of moisture in the air.
We recommend keeping your relative humidity below 50%. You may monitor your humidity with a
humidity gauge. See our
Dehumidifier Buying Guide to learn about different dehumidifiers and reducing
indoor moisture levels.
that you can kill dust mites by exposing them to direct sunlight for three hours - by taking rugs outdoors, for example - or by freezing them.
Many parents place their children's toys in the freezer for 24 hours to kill dust mites. Alternatively, you could buy
allergy-friendly toys that will withstand frequent washing. If you
are worried about dust mite infestation in a certain part of your home,
you can use the MITE-T-Fast dust mite detection kit to
quickly and easily see how many dust mites are living in your bed, your carpet, or your sofa.