Tell Dust Mites to Freeze?

Freeze Dust MitesResearches with the University of South Carolina have been granted two patents for a novel way of cleaning to reduce allergens from dust mites. The patents are titled Methods and Compositions for Eliminating Allergens and Allergen-Producing Organisms.

A university news release announced that the patents had been awarded to Michael Matthews, Jian Zhang, and Allan Quick. and uses carbon dioxide (CO2) to “freeze clean” home fabrics.

We have been explaining to people for years that in order to neutralize an allergen effectively it must be subjected to extreme heat, cold, or an acid or alkaline substance in order to denature the proteins. When you spray ADMS or ADS anti-allergen dust mite sprays on your fabrics and rugs, you are denaturing the allergy-causing proteins using alkaline substances.

Grants by the National Institutes of Health and other sources funded the research into ways that carbon dioxide could be used to freeze clean surfaces. You might be familiar with carbon dioxide in the form of dry ice.

The extremely cold temperature of the carbon dioxide not only will freeze the dust mite but it will denature the proteins from animals, molds, and pollens as well. In addition, the researchers discovered that the process also removed the odor from smoke.

The process has not been perfected yet. Currently, the researchers apply carbon dioxide in the form of a vapor that freezes on contact with the fabric. As it freezes, the carbon dioxide forms microparticles of ice that are removed with a vacuum. Since the ice particles are immediately removed with a vacuum, they do not melt and the fabric stays dry.

The researchers were not looking for a new and better way to clean the house. They were looking for a new and better way to sterilize medical equipment commercially. When they realized that their process worked on allergens as well as microbes, they begin to see home applications for allergy control.

Researcher Michael Mathews says, “..we realized that there was a critical national need to address the removal of asthma triggers from the home. These triggers, which are actually proteins produced by pets and pests, can be removed with our technology”.

They have not licensed the process to any cleaning companies and no equipment is currently available for home use of carbon dioxide vapor. But, relief may soon be on the way for millions that suffer from allergies and asthma.

There is no current estimate of the cost for standard treatment of a home, but it does appear that a treatment is effective for about 6 months.

Until you can tell dust mites to “freeze” with carbon dioxide vapor, you can continue to vacuum with a HEPA filtered vacuum, spray ADMS Anti Dust Mite Spray on your fabrics, and keep the number of dust-catching objects in a room to a minimum.

Even when the carbon dioxide technology has been adapted for home use, you will still need a zippered dust mite cover for your mattress, pillow, and box spring. It will be impossible to get the vapor to the depths of your mattress or pillow.

So do not throw out those zippered mattress covers! They will continue to be your first line of defense, even after you tell the dust mites to “Freeze!”

Wishing you the best of health

Ragweed and Other Reasons to Keep Outside Out

If you’ve been experiencing itchy or watery eyes lately or noticed that you are sneezing, sniffling, or itching more than often, you might be allergic to ragweed pollens.

This is the time of year ragweed and other weeds are the most common pollens in the air.  Single ragweed can produce over one billion grains of pollen.  Can you imagine unleashing one billion particles of allergy-causing misery? It is like single ragweed is an invading army and your immune system just doesn’t stand a chance. Doesn’t it make you want to sneeze just to think about it?

Well, the same wonderful end of summer and early fall weather that triggers the ragweeds to produce pollen also tempts us to open our windows.  But, if you have allergies it is really not a great idea.  It is best to keep the outside out.  It also seems counter-intuitive to the idea of “fresh” air.

I was speaking to a young man in the midwest earlier this week about his conflicting desires to want the “freshest” air in his house balanced with his desire for his daughter to breathe the cleanest air.

He had been researching air exchanging units and had read some pretty convincing marketing materials supporting the benefits of “clean” air from the outside.  His question was spot on,  “If this unit brought air in from outside and the air had pollen or mold, was he making things better or worse?”

Well, if this unit sucked the air from outside and did nothing to clean that air, then things would be worse.  If the unit brought air in, cleaned it up, then dumped it into the house, then it truly would be “fresh” air.

Remember you don’t want to bring more pollen or mold into your house than already sneaks in every time you open a door.  Remember, you also carry bits of pollen and molds from the air on your clothes and hair if you go outside when counts are high.  It really is best to keep the outside out.

If you do open your windows, then run your HEPA air cleaner on high.  Put it to work sucking up those particles.  Look into using MicroAirScreen Window Air Screens that will allow you to open your window 8″ but still block those pollens and molds.

Also, take a moment to check the pollen levels before you open up.  Many newspapers print pollen counts and you can always visit Pollen.Com to get your local forecast.  They even have a mobile app that you can download if that’s your style. So, no matter how you approach it, keep the outside out and the inside in.

Til Next Time!

Bed Bug Problems Increasing

Every day we are getting calls about bed bugs.

The problems associated with bed bugs in the U.S. is increasing to the point where  they can affect anyone and anywhere. In the past few years, bed bug infestations have been increasingly observed in the U.S. and  has been attributed to the increases in immigration and travel. 

For years when people talked about bed bugs the thought of run down, flea bag hotels came to mind. Not now. It is not uncommon for a 4 or 5 star hotel to have a problem or two with uninvited guests. You never know where they may show up.

Being familiar with bed bugs can help to avoid infestation, or at least prompt earlier intervention by a professional pest control expert to help get rid of the bugs.

Read complete article on bed bugs, the Unwanted Guest

Wishing you the best of health

Mike Krause