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Dust Mite Control

What is a “mite”?

Mites are very small insects. If you view them under a strong microscope, a mite looks like a wingless bee. Mites cannot drink water, they must absorb humidity from the air, that’s why humidity is necessary for them to live. Mites live on the organic matter that is continuously being shed from the human body, and from other living things like pets.

What health problems do mites cause?

There are 2 types of mites that are known to cause disease in humans:

  1. The Scabies mite: It is a small insect that burrows into the skin of humans, causing the itchy rash known as scabies.
  2. The house dust mite: It lives near living animals because it requires heat and humidity, although it does not bite or invade the body, it contributes to allergy because its feces are allergenic. That is why some people start coughing or sneezing when they stir house dust (although house dust contains other allergens like cockroach droppings, pollen, pet dander etc).

How can we know if the allergy is caused by the house dust mite?

A medical specialist in allergies can determine whether the allergy is caused by the house dust mite or rather by pollen, mold spores or other allergens that can be found in house dust.

What are the symptoms caused by house dust mite?

Usually exposure causes itchy red, teary eyes, coughing, sneezing and runny nose.

In extreme conditions it might cause asthma.

Prevention and treatment of house dust mite:

  1. All house dust should be removed. The most important way to do that is vacuuming. It is a good idea to dust before vacuuming because dusting helps release the attached dust which can be easily vacuumed. Dusting is better done with a wet cloth.
  2. Controlling humidity will control the mite because it lives on the moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers are very helpful.
  3. Frequent washing of bed covers and sheets with detergent will kill the mite.
  4. Exposure to sunlight or U.V. lamps treatment of bed sheets, covers, and mattress.
  5. Avoid open-window ventilation because this will let in more humidity and more allergens from outside like pollen. Rather ventilate with dehumidifiers and air purifiers.
  6. Avoid furniture with stuffy material because this will encourage the mite growth and retain dust. Use mite-resistant bed sheets and covers that are made of smooth plastic material that are more difficult for the mite to populate. Also, a smooth quilt is better than a blanket.
Submitted on January 16, 2014