House dust mites are very tiny almost invisible to the naked eye. Dust mites are not parasitic, but they have powerful allergens contained in the mites, their cast skins, fecal material and secretions that can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics and others who are allergic to their feces. Their primary food is skin scales (dander) contained in house dust. Since the greatest fallout occurs in areas of human and pet activity, the mites tend to be most numerous in beds, sofas, chairs, and carpeted areas.
Studies show that dust mites may be a factor in 50 to 80 percent of asthmatics, as well as in countless cases of eczema, hay fever and other allergic ailments. In the United Kingdom, one in 10 children and one in 12 adults suffer from asthma (source www.asthma.org.uk) while everyone either knows or is related to someone who suffers from an allergy or eczema.
According to Mayo Clinic, dust mite allergy symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include: sneezing, runny nose, itchy red watery eyes, nasal congestion, itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat, postnatal drip, cough, facial pressure and pain, frequent awakening, swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes, in a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose.
Here then are some tips shared by Mayo Clinic to combat this household problem.
Use allergen-proof bed covers. Cover your mattress and pillows in dust-proof or allergen-blocking covers.
Wash bedding weekly. Wash all sheets, blankets, pillowcases and bedcovers in hot water that is at least 130 F (54.4 C) to kill dust mites and remove allergens.
Keep humidity low. Maintain a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent in your home.
Choose bedding wisely. Avoid bedcovers that trap dust easily and are difficult to clean frequently.
Buy washable stuffed toys. Wash them often in hot water and dry thoroughly. Also, keep stuffed toys off beds.
Remove dust. Use a damp or oiled mop or rag rather than dry materials to clean up dust. This prevents dust from becoming airborne and resettling.
Cut clutter. If it collects dust, it also collects dust mites.