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Dust Mites are the Most Common Cause of Allergies

May 21, 2008
When you have runny eyes, sneezing, coughing and stuffiness, it may not be the flu, especially if you have these symptoms on a regular basis. They may be allergies for which you have to take special medication, some of which makes you sleepy. One thing you may not realize is that one of the most common causes of all these symptoms is the presence of dust mites in your home.

Dust mites come from house dust. They are eight-legged creatures of the same family as spiders, chiggers and ticks. You will never know for sure if they exist in your home because unlike spiders, you can't see them. They are creamy white and round, almost like a speck of dust and the only way to see for sure is to place them under a microscope on a dark background. The females can live up to 10 weeks and in the last five weeks of her life, she can lay as many as 200 eggs. So if you have a lot of dust mites in your home, they can multiply very rapidly.

These motes like to live in dark, warm, moist places. The most common areas to find them are in beds and on the furniture of your living room. They burrow down into the layers and live happily producing eggs and dying adding to the allergens in the house. The near perfect environment for the mites is in an area with 75% humidity or higher. Lowering the humidity in your home with a dehumidifier is one way to get rid of them. They cannot exist in areas with less than 50% humidity.

For children with asthma, it is important to limit their exposure to dust mites. It is the fecal matter that the mites leave behind that causes the allergic reaction. Pillows and mattresses in beds are most susceptible. They float into the air when you vacuum the carpet or even bounce on the bed or fluff your pillow. As soon as the disturbance is over, they settle back down, often in a different area.

One gram of dust could easily contain almost 20,000 dust mites. Each of these mites produces about 10 to 20 particles of waste a day. However, they do not bite or spread disease. They are only harmful to those who have allergies to dust. Insecticides that eliminate other insects have no effect on dust mites and therefore will not help you with the problem in any way.

Diligent cleaning is basically the only way to get rid of these mites in your home. Bedding needs to be washed in really hot water once a week. Mattresses and pillows household be covered with airtight covers. When you place a cover on a pillow, the pillowcase goes over the cover. If possible, take up all carpeting in the home. If this is not an option, you should vacuum once a week. Vacuum the upholstered furniture once a week as well. Using brooms with micro fibers that collect dust without spreading it around are also a great way of cleaning your floors and preventing the spread of the mites to other areas.
About the Author
To find out more about dust mites and dust mite allergies visit www.dust-mite.org.
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