Allergies – Know the Enemy – Dust Mites

Sadly you can be the cleanest person in the world and you would still have a problem with dust mites.

Household Dust &  Dust Mites

An allergy to dust found in our homes is the most common cause of perennial allergic rhinitis. House dust allergy usually produces symptoms similar to pollen allergy.

What Is House Dust?

Rather than a single substance, house dust is a varied mixture of potentially allergenic materials. The particles that can be seen floating in a shaft of sunlight may contain fibers from different types of fabrics; cotton lint, feathers, and other stuffing materials; bacteria; mold and fungus spores (especially in damp areas); food particles; bits of plants and insects; and other allergens peculiar to an individual home.

Dust also contains microscopic creatures known as dust mites. These mites also live in bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and other fiber-containing surfaces.  Ordinarily, they would thrive in summer and die in winter. However, in a warm, humid house, they continue to thrive even in the coldest months. Their waste products, which contain proteins, are what actually provoke the allergic reaction.

What Are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are tiny creatures you cannot see. Every home has dust mites. There are two major species, the Dermatophagoides farinae or North American Dust Mite, and the Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus or the European or Old World Dust Mite.  Both species feed on shed skin flakes and are found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys, and fabric or other fabric-covered items. In fact, your bed can have millions of dust mites living in it and you will never see them (great reason to cover the mattress with dust mite covers). It is the reason old mattresses, box springs, and pillows weigh so much more than the same item when new.

Dead dust mites are just as bad for you as a living one. Body parts and feces of dust mites can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. House dust mite allergy is the major year-round allergy in the world.  Dust mites do not bite, you cannot feel them on your skin, and you cannot see dust mites.

Next up – Pets and Animal Dander

Till next time

Allergy Store – Helping customers since 1989

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