Dust mite allergies


Perhaps you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with dust mite allergy. Allergens from dust mites are the second largest cause of allergies in the world, behind pollen, and are significant triggers of asthma attacks.

It is estimated that up to fifteen to twenty percent of the world's population is allergic to dust mite allergens. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that are the second leading cause of allergy, behind pollen.

There are two types of dust mites: Dermatophagoides farinae is the North American house dust mite and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus is the European dust mite.

Dust mites are most closely related to spiders and ticks. They have eight hairy legs, no eyes, no antennae, a mouth group in front of the body and a hard, translucent shell. These mites are about 0.25 - .30 millimeters in size and cannot be seen without magnification.

Adult mites live for about a month and female mites live for about 8 to 10 weeks. The female lays eggs singly or in small groups. From egg to adult takes about 3 to 4 weeks. If humans or pets live in your home, you have mites. No special tests are needed to check for them, that's a fact.

Mites collect, live and reproduce where food is readily available. The mite feeds on human and animal skin cells.

Since fiber-filled surfaces collect the most mite food, they have the highest concentrations of mites. Dust mites are most prevalent in the home in mattresses (whether conventional or special foam mattresses), pillows, box springs, blankets, sheets, upholstered furniture, rugs, carpets, drapes, curtains, decorative fabric panels and tapestries hung on walls, pet beds, and automobile interiors. They like dark, warm, moist areas.

During their lifetime, the mite will produce hundreds of fecal pellets. It is a protein in the fecal pellets that causes allergic reactions in humans. Also, as the mite grows, it throws off its exoskeletons and this also contains the protein that causes the allergy.

Mites do not bite you. You can't feel them crawling on you. Allergic symptoms are caused by inhaling the microscopic fecal matter and shed skins. Symptoms of dust mite allergy include, but are not limited to, respiratory tract symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, stuffy nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, and asthma. In addition, skin symptoms such as eczema and dermatitis may result. Skin rashes and hives are rarely a symptom of dust mite allergy.

The fewer fiber-filled surfaces in a room or house the fewer places for dust mites to set up shop. The most common recommendations are to use vinyl, wood or other hard surface blinds rather than curtains or drapes; remove all carpets and rugs and use wood, vinyl or tile; replace all fabric upholstered furniture with leather upholstered furniture and remove all books, lamps and dust catching items from a room. However, no one wants to live in a bare bubble. So what can be done?

Effective dust mite control can be achieved by doing the following:

Keep only one bed in the room. Most importantly, cover the mattresses, pillows and comforters in a dust mite proof mattress cover (with a zipper). If a second bed is to be in the room, prepare it in the same way.

Use only washable materials on the bed. Sheets, blankets and other bed clothes should be washed weekly in water of at least 130 F. Low temperatures do not kill dust mites. If you set your hot water temperature lower (which is usually done to prevent children from scalding themselves), wash items with antiallergenic control products such as de-mite allergenic products that are specially designed to kill dust mite allergens in hot and cold water.

Keep all animals with fur or feathers out of the room. People who are allergic to dust mites are often allergic to cats, dogs or other animals. If you can't, treat the pet with friendly allergy control products.

If the dust-sensitive person is a child, keep toys out of the room that will collect dust and wash frequently with damp cloths. Some other tips:

> Vacuum with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner.

> Clean, dust, and room early in the day and stay out of the room for 1-2 hours after cleaning.

Dust mites absorb water from the environment and is their food source. A dehumidifier can be helpful because house dust mites require high humidity to live and grow. Care should be taken to clean the unit frequently to prevent mold growth. However, while low humidity can reduce dust mite levels, it can also irritate the nose and lungs of some people

> Wear a dust mask when cleaning if you are one with severe allergies.

It is impossible to rid your home of dust mites completely, but by taking these steps, you can reduce your exposure thus reducing your allergic reactions.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate.

Protech Allergies


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