Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dust Mites, Not To Be Ignored

Believe it or not, dust mites are everywhere. We hear about them, get disgusted by them, and swear they have not made a home in ours. The question is, have they? So, what are these nasty crawlers?  They are microscopic, eight-legged, non-parasitic insect/creatures. Are you ready to get grossed out? Dust mites feed on human skin, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, fungi, to name a few. They thrive in high humidity (70 % and over). Have a tremendously dusty section in the house? Like under the sofa or bed? Have pets? They live mostly on dead human and pet skin. Beware…. 

The growing concern about dust mites is the allergic reaction many have to them, and do not even know it. General symptoms people on average have are allergies, not limited to respiratory issues (asthma), sneezing, itchy eyes, and eczema all associated with dust mites. Are you ready to get grossed out, again? The allergen associated with dust mites are their feces and surrounding body, which make up dust among other things, and because they are microscopic they become airborne almost immediately after the dust has been moved around during activities, like cleaning.

We shed about 1/5 ounce of dead skin each week. Did you know that?  An average man or woman sheds about 600,000 particles of skin per hour, which is approximately 1.5 pounds (680 grams) per year. Using this figure, by the age of 70, a person will have lost 105 pounds (47.6 kilograms) of skin which is equivalent to two-thirds of their entire body weight, and because we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, dust mites are found on bedding and your mattress. Grossed out even more?

Things to do about it:

  • Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum your carpets, even hardwood floors to get rid of dust mites. Consider vacuums with HEPA filters, they remove 99% of particles in the air.

  • Have a cluttered house? An over cluttered space will increase in the collection of dust, which increase your chances with dust mites. Do the one year test. Have not used it, looked at it, toss.
  • Use a wet microfiber cloth when cleaning surfaces. Microfiber cloths rule in dust pick up, and when wet prevent circulation when dust is disrupted.
  • Wash your bedding on the regular. Remember we shed dead skin while we sleep. These crawlers find solace on pillowcases, bed sheets, blankets, and your favorite down comforters. The rule, wash in hot water and dry it the same. High intensity heat if done weekly will remove dust mites.

  • Steam clean your mattress as often as possible. Dust mites do not stand a chance in surviving.
  • Lower the humidity to 50. Studies have shown that air-conditioned homes have 10 times fewer dust mites.
  •  Looking for a new living room set? You may want to reconsider overstuffed furniture. Sure, they are undoubtedly stunning and comfortable. Give it a few weeks in the house or apartment and do the old fashion slam with the hand on one of the cushions. Need I say more?