Dust Mite Allergen: Resolving the Dust Mite Dilemma

Dust MiteDust mites are far too small to see with the unaided eye, but for many of us, you can definitely feel his presence. Dust mites are the single most common allergen that people inhale in their homes. They undermine the health of the allergic, triggering runny noses, headaches, and most alarmingly asthma attacks. Unfortunately, they are so small that they are found in the dust which is everywhere inside your home. The dust mite is not responsible for all allergies - other pollutants such as pollens, pet dander, mold and tobacco residue, to name a few, can also cause reactions. But in terms of a single allergen, the dust mite is probably the most important one.

  • 42,000 dust mites can live in one ounce of dust. 40 pounds of dust generated per year, per 1,500 square feet of space, can host up to 15 species of dust mites.
  • The microscopic insect-like creature lives primarily in pillows, mattresses, carpets, and upholstered furniture.
  • The dust mite thrives in humid warm conditions.
  • Its diet consists of shed scales from human skin.
  • Fecal matter produced by the dust mite is the allergen to which people react.
  • Each mite produces about 20 waste particles per day.
  • These particles continually aggravate allergies even after the mite is dead.
  • Females can lay 25-50 eggs.
  • A new generation is produced every three weeks.
  • The dust mite allergen cannot survive in a room with an oxidation technology air purifier.

The key to Relieving Allergy Symptoms Is to
REMOVE Dust Mites from Your Environment.

So, how do we remove these dust mites and other allergens from the air?

  • Enclose the mattress and boxsprings in a zippered dust-proof encasing. Dust-proof encasings have a layer of material that keeps the dust mites inside the encasing. Encasings are usually made of vinyl or other plastics.
  • Wash all bedding in hot (130 degrees F) water, weekly.
  • Put the pillows in zippered dust proof encasings and/or wash the pillows weekly with the bedding.
  • Avoid lying on upholstered furniture or carpet.
  • Clean the carpets every six months using a hot water (above 130) extraction method. (A clean carpet is healthier than no carpet for allergy sufferers. The carpet acts as a filter to trap the allergens. When the filter is full in six months it needs cleaned. Go to www.iicrc.org to find a certified carpet cleaner near you.
  • Use wood, leather or vinyl furniture instead of upholstered furniture in the bedroom.
  • The person with a dust mite allergy should not vacuum or be in a room while it is being vacuumed.
  • Keep the indoor moisture low. The ideal humidity level is 30-40%. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in warm climates to decrease the humidity. Clean the dehumidifier regularly.
  • Humidifiers/vaporizers are not recommended because they will increase humidity in the room and create a favorable environment for dust mites.
  • Chemicals that kill dust mites can be applied regularly to carpeting and upholstered furniture. A tannic acid solution can help neutralize the allergen in mite droppings.
  • HEPA vacuums or a vacuum with allergen trapping bags help but often stir up more allergens into the air.
  • Change furnace filter and clean air ducts.
  • Last but not least - before it is a problem . . . Clean the air with an Oxidation based UV Air Purifier

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