Dust mites, like bed bugs, are nasty little monsters found in millions and millions of home all over the world. In fact, believe it or not, your pillow may be infested by some ten million of these creatures and about half a billion of their droppings. Even just a single gram of dust in your house can hold over one thousand mites so imagine how much you have around.
What are they?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, mites or dust mites are tiny bugs which feed on dead skin cells of both humans and animals. As they feed on dead skin cells, they don’t really bother you with any blood-sucking tendency and won’t cause you rashes. The problem with these creatures is they cause allergies in some individuals like asthma, hay fever, and certain types of eczema. A huge percentage of asthmatic people are allergic to mites.
What do they look like?
This is where it gets interesting. You see, an adult female mite is only 0.3 millimeter long while the male is a bit thinner and smaller. They are oval and semi-transparent. Their color may vary depending on what they have been eating. Having said that, you now know that they can’t be seen by the naked eye—with or without some color.
Mites don’t have any hard covering but they have slightly permeable skin. This makes them prone to water loss. They are consists of as much as 80% water. Without enough of it, they will die.
How did they get to your home?
Since mites are too tiny, no one can really tell how they exactly end up in anyone’s home. However, since they are clingy creatures, they can easily stick to fur, feathers, cloth, or any other materials which will serve as conducive hiding places while traveling to their new “home.”
Your socks, stuffed toys, and pajamas can easily transfer mites to your bed. Aside from the bed, dust mites can also be found in sofas, cushions, carpets, upholstery, and even top covers which are not often moved. These furniture and articles can accumulate dead skin cells which the mites love for dinner.
How can you protect your home from them?
You can protect your home from harboring too many mites by keeping the surrounding clean always. Since they thrive in humid and dusty place, keep your home well-ventilated and dust-free at all times.
How can you get rid of them?
Sadly, you can’t totally get rid of mites, but there are some practical steps you can do to significantly reduce their number and not let them thrive further. For one, you can get rid of old pillows. Buy new ones if yours are too old and too dirty. You can also strip all your beds and wash their bedding in hot water. If the sun is up, it is a great idea to dry them outside. While your bedding is in the washing machine, you can vacuum your bed thoroughly. This will eliminate all the mites on the surface.
You may also want to try using dust mite covers for your pillows and mattresses. Some doctors recommend these products as they are said to be effective in reducing the allergy attacks of some people. These covers are made from breathable materials so you won’t have to worry about them being hot or uncomfortable.
If there are family members who are highly sensitive to dust mites, you may want to consider totally getting rid of your carpets and other upholstered furniture which serve as these creatures haven. Go for hard-type flooring. If you can’t get rid of your carpets, the next best thing to do is to have them steam-cleaned professionally. You should also invest in a vacuum cleaner which is specifically designed to remove allergens. As for your upholstered furniture, you may want to replace them with leather ones. Leather does not trap mites and their droppings.
It is also important that to regularly change your curtains and drapery. If you don’t have the time to wash them yourself, bring them to the cleaner’s. Before putting on a new set, vacuum the window areas first.
If you want to eliminate the drapery altogether, you can install shutters and blinds instead. They can dramatically decrease the mites thriving in your window area.
When cleaning up the furniture and other surface, you may use a kind of polish which has anti-allergen formulation.
Finally, if you have money to spend, run an air purifier that will get rid of allergens in the air.
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Filed under: Dust Mite
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