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House Dust Mites

HOUSE DUST MITES

House dust mites are microscopic. You need a 10x magnifying glass to see them. They thrive in humid and damp environments especially those with a humidity over 50%. They live in carpets, mattresses, bed linen, pillows, soft toys, soft window furnishings, upholstered furniture and love warm and moist environments.

Their bodies, secretions and faeces contain particular proteins that can trigger allergic symptoms in susceptible people. Wherever there is dust and humans there will be house dust mites. There are 11 documented species worldwide.

House dust mites are one of the most common allergens in the world. They are the leading cause of hay fever and allergic asthma worldwide.

They are more prevalent in houses with poor house cleaning. Regular vacuuming, ventilation, washing of textiles with detergent and hot water weekly, daily vacuuming including mattresses and use of dust mite resistant bed covers have shown to reduce house dust mite concentrations. It’s near impossible to completely eradicate them.

They feed off keratin (human skin) pet dander, pollens, microbes and textile fibres, chitin (fungal hyphae and mite cuticals) The availability of these food sources affects the success of the dust mite.

•HDM produce 1 trillion faecal pellets in your mattress in three months.
•50 HDM can fit on the head of a pin.
•They don’t bite, spread disease or cause issues unless you’re allergic to them.
•They don’t have eyes, and don’t drink they rely on moisture from the air.

The first three years of human life are critical in the formation of future allergy, because children might be particularly vulnerable to allergen exposure during organogenesis. (The formation of their organs)

Unlike seasonal allergies, house dust mite allergies usually worsen at night or upon waking, people with a HDM allergy often have other allergies like asthma, hay fever and eczema.

House dust mite allergens in Australian homes are some of the highest recorded worldwide.

Some tips to reduce the prevalence of house dust mites in the home:

1. Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner. A HEPA vacuum has a filter that traps any dust that doesn’t go in the bag instead of spewing it back into the air.

2. Vacuum rugs and other “soft” items in your home on a regular basis/daily.

3. Vacuum your mattress. This may sound funny, but once a month remove your sheets and vacuum your mattress using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.
4. Make your own dust mite repellent to spray on your bed. Dust mites are repulsed by the smell of Clove, Eucalyptus, Lavendar, Peppermint, and Rosemary. Make your own aromatic spray by adding a few drops of one (or more) of those essential oils in a water-filled spray bottle. Lightly mist your bed and allow it to air dry.
5. Don’t make your bed. (All the way) By pulling the covers back and airing out your mattress after a good night’s sleep helps the humidity evaporate from your bed.
6. Cover your bed and pillows with dust mite protective covers.
7. Wash sheets in hot water once a week.
8. Air your pillows outside in direct sunlight once a week.
9. Freezing soft toys overnight can also kill dust mites.
10. Allergy sufferers should avoid bunk beds.
11. Store linen, cushions, blankets etc in space bags
12. Reduce humidity in the home by using a dehumidifier or refrigerated air conditioner