Without a doubt, your home is going to get dusty and let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter how much you clean. Even if you’re a clean freak and you’re scrubbing and polishing 8 hours a day, every day; sorry – but the fact is – you’re going to wake up the next morning and there will be dust!
One of the biggest pollutants in your indoor air at home is dust – and with dust, with clutter, with humans, comes dust mites.
Unfortunately, dust mites bring with them a range of health problems, which can be as serious as anaphylaxis, angioedema, extrinsic allergic alveolitis and hypersensitive pneumonia.
Think about your children
The biggest problem with dust mites is that they aren’t child friendly. Children have been recognized as the most vulnerable when it comes to suffering the effects of the mites – including things like allergic reactions, chest infections and asthma. There are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, kids get dirty. And no doubt if you have kids, you’ve long given up on the 8 hour a day cleaning we mentioned earlier. There’s just no point. But the reality is – the point could be your child’s health. Although it’s not always practical to clean all that dust up constantly, if your child is showing signs of breathing or sinus issues – it’s worth a shot.
Secondly, you children will generally spend a lot more time in bed than you would. They will have more hours sleep at night (lucky ducks), and if you have a baby or toddler, they will also usually (touch wood) nap during the day. That means they are spending more time in their beds than we do – and we all know beds are a haven for dust mites.
Here are some other things you may, or may not, have known about dust mites:
They are tiny. Seriously, tiny. When you think of dust mites you probably imagine this little green bug with big white teeth, baring all and laughing as it jumps around on your bed. The fact is you can’t see them. Even the adults are so small they can sit on top of a pinhead and add their clear coloring, you’ll have trouble finding them without a long lens microscope.
They only live 10-12 weeks, but they lay up to 3 eggs a day, so even though you have 1000 dust mites all dying at one time, you have 3000 hatching in their place! Sounds busy!
Dust mites aren’t anything new.
They aren’t something that has only become a part of life thanks to messy people, the environment, Donald Trump. They have actually been around for longer than the dinosaurs! 23 millions years.
They eat their own poop. That’s how they survive. They live on all that dust (mold, bacteria, pollen, your dead skin cells) but in order to digest it, they eat their droppings which are full of enzyme that help break down their food. It is actually those enzymes that are most harmful to humans.
They don’t bite. If you’re waking up in the morning and you have red itchy bites all over your body, don’t confuse this with dust mites. You probably have bed bugs and they need to get treated.
Speaking of your bed, did you know there could be up to 10 MILLION dust mites making a home in there at any one time?
Testing for mites
The good news is, there are dust mite test kits you can buy if you have any concerns about your bedding or your children’s beds. Simply get your kit, use you vacuum cleaner to take some samples and then follow the instructions on your kit.
You can also get skin prick tests to find out if you or your family members have allergic reactions to them. If you want to get rid of dust mites, you have to kill them. You can do that by keeping the air conditioner on low; putting your pillow in the freezer; hot washes in the washing machine; spray them with environmentally friendly bacteria spray; or just try to keep the place as clean as possible. You might not get rid of them all, but you can help to contain them.
And of course, the best thing you can do is to prevent them in the first place. That means you need to avoid having clutter in the home, don’t use a feather duster when you’re cleaning (instead use a wet cloth); and get yourself some allergy pillow covers and sheets for the beds. You might also consider regularly using your dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the humidity low.
Dust is one of the home’s most common pollutants but you can keep those little mites under control if you have the time and the right frame of mind. Looking after the health of yourself and your loved ones is imperative, so if you can, be vigilant. This is particularly important if you notice someone in the home is showing symptoms of allergy – from red eyes, to sneezing and eczema. Rest assured there is a possible solution so do what you can.