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Dust Mites: Allergies & Asthma

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Published on Jun 12, 2013

One of the most common causes of allergies to house dust is due to the presence of dust mites. Dust mites are tiny eight-legged creatures that are typically too small to see with the naked eye. Most homes have dust mites and a single gram of house dust may have hundreds or more dust mites in it.

Dust mites feed on human skin scales that people shed as well as animal dander, fungi, bacteria and pollen. Because they absorb water from the air and their environment and do not drink water, they thrive in warm environments with high humidity.

Since dust mites feed on human skin flakes and dander they are often present in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys, and fabric and fabric-covered items.

Although dust mites do not bite people, their body parts and droppings can cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma in individuals who are sensitive to exposure to dust mites. Children's exposure to dust mites is believed to be an important factor in causing asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.

Fortunately, there are actions people can take to minimize exposure to dust mites, they include the following:

• Keep the humidity level indoors below 50% if possible.
• Keep dust levels to a minimum.
• Wash bedding in hot water once a week and dry it completely.
• Replace feather pillows with synthetic ones.
• Use dust proof covers on pillows and mattresses.
• Vacuum carpets and furniture every week with a vacuum with a high efficiency filter.
• Choose stuffed toys that can be washed in hot water and dry them completely before a child plays with them.

There are also dust mite testing kits and professional consulting services available to people concerned about dust mites.

These are just a few things to know about dust mites, to learn more about this or other indoor air quality and environmental issues, please visit the websites shown on the screen.

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