What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic relatives of common spiders. They make their home in yours, more specifically on the curtains, bedding, mattresses, and upholstered furniture. These creatures love humid and warm conditions.
That’s why the number of allergy cases caused by these mites tends to blow up during winter. When people closed their doors and crank up the heater, they create the perfect environment for the mites to thrive.
Can You See Dust Mites?
Dust mites are tiny, in the range of 0.2-0.3 millimeters. That’s just slightly bigger than the average diameter of human hair which is 0.17-0.18 millimeters.
You can see them crawling around on your bed sheet or sofa if you look hard, but you will need a magnifying glass if you want to take a closer look at their shenanigans. These buggers are so tiny and light, you won’t feel them when they’re crawling on your skin.
Watch the following video to see how small they are compared to the fibers of your pillowcase fabric:
“I’m pretty sure I can see them creeping around my bed!”
No, what you see are most likely bed bugs. While their infestation is equally, if not more, frustrating, they are completely different creatures. Adult bed bugs are typically in the 4.5 millimeters range, so they are easy to spot.
Do Dust Mites Bite?
No, they don’t bite you. They have no reason to. The mites fed on shed skin from people and pets. They “drink” using their skin by absorbing the water from humid air. As you can see, they have very little incentive to bite you for sustenance.
Remember, if you can feel the bite, then they’re not dust mites.
Is Dust Mite Allergy Real?
Yes, but only 10% or the Earth’s populations are allergic to dust mites. That’s a pretty significant number especially if you’re one of that 10%.
The allergy symptoms from dust mite are aplenty. It can make it hard for you to breathe as if you have asthma, give your rash that itch uncontrollably, or make you feel like you have an endless cold.
As we have mentioned, dust mites allergy tend to blow up during winter. Since people tend to spend more time indoors during winter, exposure to the mites’ allergen becomes more frequent. So if you or your family members suffering more from allergies during the winter despite the lack of apparent allergens, you may have dust mites issue.
How To Tell If I Have Dust Mites?
To check if you really have dust mites in the house, purchase an inexpensive microscope from a hobby store. Collect a sample using clear tape. Target the part of your home where it’s damp and warm like your bed or pillow sheet in the morning.
Once you have the sample, examine it under the microscope. Dust mites look translucent, exactly like the first picture above.
How Do I Reduce My Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms?
- The allergic symptoms you get are caused by the mites’ shed skins and fecal matter. To lessen the number of those allergens in your home, you can do the followings: Run a HEPA air purifier 24/7. It will help tremendously in keeping the amount of those shed skins and fecal matter flying around in your home to a minimum.
- Open the windows whenever possible. A well-ventilated home can reduce dust mite exposure. During winter, consider using a dehumidifier to ensure the humidity inside your home is less than 45%. That way your home won’t be such a comfortable breeding ground for mites.
- Regularly vacuum carpets, beddings, and upholstered furniture with HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to reduce the number of mites taking refuge on them.
Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Dust Mites Completely?
If you live in a quarantine, then it is possible to have your home free from the mites. If not, then you’re out of luck. Dust mites are just too common; you can carry them unknowingly from where ever and transport them to the comfort of your home.