Dust mites are present in almost every home, even the cleanest ones! These tiny mites breed incredibly quickly and usually live in soft furnishings, carpets and mattresses.
For most people, dust mites don’t cause any problems. However, if you are part of the estimated 2% of the population with dust mite allergy, you might experience symptoms such as wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, itchy skin and eyes. You might find that these symptoms are worse when you wake.
Here are 5 facts about the house dust mite that might surprise you...
1. You can’t see them
These microscopic spiders tend to measure less than 0.5mm in length, making them invisible to the human eye without magnification. They are commonly mistaken for bed bugs, which are about the size of an apple seed.
2. Dogs can be allergic too
Dust mite allergy doesn’t just affect us humans. Up to 80% of allergic cats and dogs are also sensitive to dust mites, according to Dr.Mercola. Telltale signs include itching, ear inflammation, rashes and skin lesions. Your vet will be able to recommend a comprehensive treatment plan, but in the meantime vacuuming regularly using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and washing pet bedding at over 60 degrees with FabriCleanse can help. Use an insecticide-free spray like HomeCleanse on your dog’s bedding and favourite blanket to denature the dust mite allergens, reducing your dog’s exposure by up to 90%.
3. They could be one of the UK’s deadliest animals
BBC News has referred to the house dust mite as "one of the UK's top man-killers". This is due to the ability of their droppings to trigger serious conditions, such as asthma attacks. Up to 90% of asthma sufferers actually identify dust mites as one of their potential attack triggers.
4. They like your bed even more than you do!
Dust mites are almost 3 times as likely to be found in beds as they are in carpets. The combination of a warm environment, moisture and skin cells makes it an ideal environment for them in which to proliferate. To keep dust mite levels down, use barrier cases and wash bed linen weekly at 60 with a gentle detergent.
5. They don’t bite
It isn’t the house dust mite itself that triggers our allergy symptoms but their faecal pellets, which contain the main dust mite allergen Der p1. Each dust mite produces around 20 droppings per day, which may continue to cause symptoms even after the mite has died. These droppings can crumble into fragments small enough to be inhaled.
To learn more about dust mite allergy, click here.