These microscopic creatures thrive in warm, humid environments where there are dead skin cells from people and animals to feed on – in other words, they thrive in many ordinary households. In particular, they like bedroom carpeting and household upholstery. As many as 40,000 dust mites can thrive in one ounce of dust, with each releasing about 20 fecal pellets per day.
So what’s the big deal? Out of sight, out of mind, right? Wrong. Exposure to dust mites and their waste products can trigger asthma attacks and allergy symptoms in people with these conditions. According to Alliance for Healthy Homes, exposure to dust mites in childhood may even cause certain children to develop asthma.
Dust mite levels often go down in the winter when humidity levels drop; however, many people with breathing problems use humidifiers in the winter, which can make humidity levels even higher than they are in the summer, thus worsening their dust mite problem and related health problems. Of course, too-low humidity levels can cause breathing problems as well. Indoor humidity levels should ideally be between 35 and 50 percent for optimal air quality and protection from mites.
Some things you can do around the house to get rid of dust mites include weekly hot-water laundering of bedding, covering mattresses and pillows with allergen-resistant covers, and regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets. In humid environments, it may be especially difficult to get rid of dust mites.
While doing things like laundering bedding frequently can help reduce dust mites, if anyone in your household suffers from allergies or breathing problems, a whole-house air filtration system is the best way to zap dust mites, as well as other allergenic particles, toxic compounds, and infectious agents that your family’s air supply may be harboring. Air filtration services can also be used to provide optimal indoor humidity levels. Call 513-333-HELP to learn more.
Written and published by Thompson Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.
(Photo via Flickr)