Information About Dust Mites

What are dust mites?

  • Dust mites are small, insect-like pests that feed on dead human skin cells.

How do you know if you have dust mites?

  • Rest assured you do … Millions of them. It's impossible to completely eliminate dust mites from your environment. Dust mites are attracted to moisture and food. And as their diet consists of freshly shed, dead skin cells of humans and pets, the location dust mites love best is where you spend one-third of your life … Your mattress. They also live in bedding, furniture, carpets, and curtains.

Are dust mites a threat to your well being?

  • While they don't automatically pose a threat to human health, they produce an allergen that can be potent for some individuals.

What times of year are dust mites worse?

  • House dust mite breeding season is highest between May and October when allergen levels are at their highest. Although most of them die in the winter, allergen-containing dust is stirred up by heating systems. This often causes the symptoms experienced by those affected to worsen during the winter, and instead of blaming dust mites, we blame allergy symptoms on colds, sinus infections and other “bugs.”

When are dust mites most active?

  • As dust mites are generally found where humans shed skin cells, and as they tend to live in mattresses, pillows, and bed linen, they’re typically more active at night.

Do dust mites bite?

  • No, but they can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. 

Do dust mites live in your hair or on your body?

  • Although dust mites may hitchhike on your clothes, they live in human hair or on your body.

How long do dust mites live?

  • Although dust mites only live for 2-3 months, dust mite allergen particles continue to cause allergy symptoms even after the mite that produced them has died.

When should you be worried about dust mites?

  • If you aren’t allergic to dust mite allergens (proteins in dust mite debris), you don’t need to worry about them. If, however, you’re prone to sinus infections, or have asthma, you’re probably going to want to do something about dust mites.
  • If you experience excessive sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, difficulty breathing, runny nose, nasal congestion, and itching, it could be because you’re allergic to dust mite allergens.
  • If you have ongoing (chronic) inflammation of tissues in the nasal passages, it could be because of dust mite allergens. These obstructions may make you more likely to develop infections of the sinuses (sinusitis).
  • If you have asthma and have difficulty managing asthma symptoms, this could be because you’re allergic to dust mite allergens. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify your allergen as something harmful, even though it isn't. When you meet the allergen, your immune system produces an inflammatory response in your nasal passages or lungs. Prolonged or regular exposure to the allergen can cause the ongoing (chronic) inflammation associated with asthma.
  • If left untreated, dust mite allergens can increase the risk of bacterial infection, severe asthma, and even long-term sleep and mood disorders. The best way to avoid these risks is to avoid or reduce the source of allergens.

Are any foods cross reactive to dust mites?

  • Some people who are allergic to house dusts mites develop cross-reactivity to lobster, crab, and other seafood.

How can you get rid of dust mites?

  • Because dust mites are found wherever we shed skin cells, you can't really eliminate them completely. You can, however, take steps to reduce their numbers.
  • Use dehumidifiers and keep humidity low. Dust mites prefer temperatures at or above 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), and they like humidity of 75 to 80 percent. As they drink by absorbing water from humidity in the atmosphere, they die if humidity falls below 50 percent
  • Open windows during warmer weather. Fresh air that circulates dilutes dust mite allergens.
  • Take a shower before going to bed. This sends a signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep, and removes dirt, airborne toxins, and dust mites from your body, making for a cleaner, healthier, sleep environment.
  • Choose bedding wisely. Organic cotton, wool, and microfiber bed linens are all hypoallergenic, and great at fighting against a dust mite allergy.
  • Use a hypoallergenic, waterproof pillow protector to reduce dust mite populations in your pillow. Dust mites love most pillows. Feather, down, microfiber, or polyester foam … None are immune to dust mites.
  • Use a hypoallergenic, waterproof mattress protector to reduce dust mite populations in your mattress.
  • Wash bedding weekly. Washing sheets, protectors, and clothing at 130 degrees or higher will kill dust mites.
  • Mist your mattress with aromatic spray. Dust mites are repulsed by Clove. Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint and Rosemary.
  • Remove dust by vacuuming regularly.