Let’s start off by letting the cat out of the bag: dust mites don’t actually bite! What you might be experiencing (and writing off as dust mite bites) is actually a dust mite allergy, manifesting as a red and itchy rash. Not what you expected, huh?
Now that we’ve cleared that up, you’re probably starting to wonder what dust mites actually are and how they can make their way into your home. We’ll break down all of that, dust mite allergies, remediation efforts, and much more.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic mites that live in many areas of your home. They feed on dead skin and pet dander, live mostly in high humidity climates, and can survive by absorbing water from humidity in the atmosphere. That’s why you see older homes, homes located in humid climates, or homes with musty/mildew odors as being more susceptible to dust mites. No matter where your home is located though, you can find them in clothing, mattresses, bedding, carpets, pillows, rugs, pet bedding, furniture, blinds, curtains, and stuffed animals, to name a few. On average, males can live for about a month, while females can live for about 90 days. Since they live off humidity, they can thrive for as long as it is humid. But, in areas with low humidity, they cannot survive.
Can You Be Allergic to Dust Mites?
Well, since dust mites don’t bite, it’s possible that what you’ve been experiencing is an allergic reaction. Since they thrive in high humidity environments, your allergy or asthma symptoms related to dust mites may become worse during hotter, humid seasons. But, how do you know if you’re allergic in the first place?
Some symptoms may include:
- Postnasal drip
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Red, itchy skin
- Itchy throat
Like many allergies, you can find symptom relief with medications like antihistamines, OTC decongestants, or doctor-prescribed allergy medication or shots. For more information, consult with your physician.
How Do You Get Rid of Dust Mites?
Unfortunately, there’s no remedy to get rid of them completely, but you can lessen their presence by doing the following:
- Target areas where they thrive
- Wash bedding once a week in hot water
- Encase bedding, mattresses, and pillows in covers
- Wash stuffed toys and keep them off beds
- Declutter to limit where dust can collect
- Avoid carpeting your home
- Switch out flooring for wood or synthetic flooring options
- Vacuum frequently
- Make sure your vacuum uses a HEPA filter
- Deep clean carpets and rugs often
- Dust regularly with a damp rag
- Use a dehumidifier
- Since they thrive in high humidity, you should be sure your indoor humidity is between 40 to 60%
- Use allergen-capturing filters, like our MERV 16
Healthy Humidity plays a key role in our everyday wellness, especially when it comes to reducing the number of pests that are lurking in our air. See how one of our Healthy Air Professionals can help you manage dust mites in your home.