Before we begin, let's do a quick refresh on what is dust mite. Dust mites are microscopic creatures relatives of the spider. It feeds on skin flakes of people or pets that shed. You can often find dust mites in bedding, upholstered furniture, carpeting, curtains, and drapes. Dust mites thrive in warm and humid weather (70 °F with 75-80 humidity) and can live between 65–100 days. Female mites can lay from 1-2 eggs per day and a total of 60 to 100 eggs throughout her life cycle. A house dust mite will produce approximately 2,000 fecal particles and an even larger number of partially digested enzyme-covered dust particles.
Dust mites are very small size arachnids (same as spider) that feed on organic detritus e.g. Animal tissues, dead human skin. Dust mites can literally survive in all climates and thrive in humid indoor environment especially in your mattress, pillow, carpet and upholstered Furniture. Besides causing the common inflammatory disease asthma, dust mites feces (digestive enzymes) will also contribute to other allergic reactions such as wheezing, itchy eyes, sneezing, cough and nasal blockage. Dust mites are especially harmful to asthmatic people.
Do Air Purifiers Get Rid of Dust Mites?
Air purifiers will only get rid of dust mites in the air. You will need a good air purifier with HEPA filter capable of removing the tiniest particles at 0.3 microns. This will significantly reduce germs, microbes, and dust mites allergy exposure. You will experience less cough, sneeze or wheezing as long as the purifying continues. For dust mites that have settled down, it will be happily feeding off the dead skin in your bedding and remain untouched until it's stir back up.
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
There are 20 million people in the United States suffering from allergies or asthma. However, every person has a different tolerance level against dust mites. Some might be only allergic to one of the factors like protein substances, debris, or feces. Because dust mites are very tiny at 0.010–0.012 in (0.25–0.3 mm), we might be inhaling or digested to all kinds of irritants without knowing which one. Children are more prone to dust mite allergy to the developing immune system. A person that is frequently exposed to dust mites will likely develop the allergy at a later stage. Take note if you are experiencing one of the symptoms below.
- Runny nose/ sinus
- Watery/ swollen/ red eyes
- Coughing/ postnasal drip
- Pain and pressure in the face
- Itchy nose, eyes or throat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Swollen eyes
- Chest pain
- Breathing difficulty
What About Non-airborne Dust Mites? How Do You Deal With It?
An air purifier can only do so much with dust. To minimize the exposure to dust mites on the ground, here are few precautionary methods you can give it a shot.
- Vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum cleaner is by far the most effective method of removing dust mites. The suction power will suck in dust mites, its egg and feces all at once. Do it weekly on upholstery furniture, carpet, mat, and bed.
- Replace all bedding, pillows, duvet, and blanket with hypoallergenic cover. This prevents dust mites from crawling inside the comfy mattress and start breeding.
- Most laundry detergent can wash off mites in bedding and pillow. The same goes with alcohol rub. Apply on affected area.
- Extreme hot and cold temperature will kill off dust mites. Consider pouring hot water at 130°F or place the contaminated object in a plastic bag and freeze it for up to 48 hours.
- Dust mites flourish in a humid environment. Get a dehumidifier to reduce humidity level between 30-50 percent.
- Organized your home to reduce clutter. Store away stuff toys, books, or gadget into a storage compartment to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for dust mites.
- Dust mite aerosol sprays or specific air freshener will kill these mites. Just sprays directly on the spot the dust mites if infesting and voilà, you’re done.
- Pets play a big role in breeding dust mites. If possible, keep your pets outside. Groom them regularly.