Afraid of Dust Mites? We’ve Got You Covered

bed bug and dust mite pictureIn an earlier post, we looked at bed bugs (the real vampires) and discovered that I wasn’t the only person that is afraid of dust mites. Continuing our creepy crawly theme, this post is going to look at dust mites, dust mite allergy, and dust mite allergy control.

Dust Mites are the Unseen Enemy

If you are afraid of bed bugs, then you can face a fear you can actually see. Bed bugs are visible. Dust mites are so incredibly small that you can’t see them without a microscope. But photos of the buggers are enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

There isn’t a medical term for fear of dust mites. Doctors lump the fear of dust mite picturedust mites into amathophobia, which is a fear of dust.

Some people get so creeped out by the thought of millions of these microscopic creatures crawling in the bed and pillow they actually imagine the feeling of insects crawling on their bodies. Just the thought makes my skin crawl. But I know that you can’t see dust mites and you can’t feel them. That’s only slightly reassuring.

Dust Mites Aren’t Vampires

At least dust mites don’t suck your blood like bed bugs. Of course, that is little comfort when you can’t sleep because of sneezing, wheezing, coughing, or a stuffy or runny nose.

Dust mites and their feces (now how gross is that) contain proteins that cause an allergic reaction in people that are sensitive. That dust that you may fear is loaded with tiny particles of dead dust mites and their poop. When you breathe these particles in, your immune system gets grossed out right along with you. Not really.

What really happens is that your immune system doesn’t identify the proteins found in those dust mite particles properly. It sees them as germs and initiates full-scale germ warfare. That is why the symptoms of allergies and colds are similar. Your body thinks it is sick, but it is not. It is just having an attack of dust mite allergy.

Never Fear – Dust Mite Allergy Control is Near

You can try hypnotism, meditation, and therapy to get over your fear of dust. Controlling dust mite allergy is much easier. It’s all about controlling your environment. You may find that when your environment is under control and your allergy symptoms are manageable your fear of dust mites just naturally goes away. Here’s what you can do to get started:

zippered covers for dust mitesDust Mite Covers. The number one thing you can do to control dust mite allergies is to cover your mattress, box spring, and pillows with dust mite covers. Just like bed bug covers; dust mite-proof covers are zippered and made of special fabrics. These cover all sides, zip up, and but an effective barrier between you and those nasty dust mites in your bed.

Vacuum. It’s best to have hard surface floors. Carpets and rugs collect more than dirt; they collect dust mites as well. Frequently vacuum with a sealed HEPA vacuum and damp mop hard surface floors.

Wash Frequently. Even though you zip everything up in dust mite covers, allergens will collect on your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. An effective part of your dust mite allergy control program is stripping sheets, pillowcases, and blankets off the bed every 7 days and washing them in 140°F water. If you can’t get your water this hot at home (and most people can’t) just add some De-Mite Laundry Additive to your detergent and wash in cold water. Those creepy dust mites will be washed away.

sunshine by stuart miles
courtesy Stuart Miles@freedigital photos

Let the Sun Shine. I know your mother told you to make your bed as soon as you arise, but leaving the bed unmade for a few hours may actually help your allergies. By exposing sheets and blankets to air and sunshine, moisture will evaporate. Dust mites don’t like dry environments and leaving your bed sheets exposed will help keep things dry. Just remember to make the bed before your Mom comes over.

Are you afraid of dust mites, bed bugs, or other insects (like spiders?). Leave a comment, we’d love to know what creeps you out.

Til next time!


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

Undiagnosed Allergies?

Got a great note from a customer today.  She purchased our zippered bed bug covers for her vacation home.  The real estate agent that handles her rentals suggested that the beds be protected against bed bugs “just in case”.

We hear a lot of that lately. And the real estate agent is correct. In the long run, it is cheaper to zip up the beds and protect them against bed bugs than throw the mattress and box spring out later when they are so infested with bed bugs that they can’t be salvaged.

But that wasn’t the point of her note.  She wrote to let us know that she just returned from spending a week at her vacation home and noticed that while she was there she did not wake up with a stuffy nose or a headache.

Seems she has been waking up to a stuffy nose for so long that she didn’t notice it until it was gone!  Sounds like undiagnosed allergies doesn’t it?

The first night back in her year around the home and the stuffy nose and headache returned.

She has never been diagnosed with an allergy to dust mites and has been waking up stuffy for so many years that it had become a “normal” part of how she felt every day. It was only when she slept in the beds that had the zippered dust mite and bed bug-proof covers did she realize that she didn’t need to suffer.  Her undiagnosed allergies were undiagnosed no more.

She discovered relief.

Needless to say, she will be purchasing dust mite-proof covers for the beds at her year-round home and sleeping soundly and waking without a headache or stuffy nose. Now she knows she doesn’t have to feel that way.

We hear time and again from people that buy dust mite-proof mattresses or pillow covers because someone in the house is diagnosed with allergies and they discover that even the “allergy-free” household members feel better.

If you stop to think about all the dust mites and dust mite feces that collect in your mattress and pillow, you know that it can’t be a good thing to breathe those particles while you sleep.  Even people that have never been diagnosed with dust mite allergy deserve a good night’s rest and they often find it by accident when they purchase our zippered mattress covers.