This blog was written for a PMA Marketing client and published on 14 September 2015
The dust mite lives where humans live. Two reasons for this are that they feed on organic matter such as shed skin flakes, and they flourish in stable indoor environments. As beneficial as this arrangement is for dust mites, unfortunately it’s a different story for humans. Read on to find out important health risk information on dust mites and what you can do about it.
What Causes Dust Mites to Flourish
Dust mites survive in all climates but flourish in warm, humid and dark environments. High relative humidity causes rapid breeding of these microscopic creatures and their droppings are easily inhaled as harmful allergens. Common spots that dust mites can be found in include bedding, carpets, soft furnishings and clothing. The most common type of duct mite found in Australia tends to prefer coastal rather than inland areas.
What Health Risks are Associated With Dust Mites
Dust mites can cause allergies and can trigger respiratory and dermatological conditions such as asthma, eczema and hay fever. See this alarming illustration from Forbes for the number of Americans affected by asthma:
The symptoms of a house mite allergy include sneezing and a runny nose. Some people may also experience wheezing and difficulty of breathing which are signs of asthma. Other allergy symptoms include coughing, itchy nose, eyes and/or skin, and skin rashes. Dust mite allergies can range from mild to severe. If severe symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty of breathing are present, you should see your doctor.
What Can You Do To Reduce Dust Mites
No matter how clean a household or work environment is, unfortunately dust mites cannot be completely eliminated. However the number of dust mites can be reduced significantly with the following steps:
- Reduce the amount of humidity in the environment. Install adequate ventilation to keep your home or work space dry and maintain humidity levels at 50% or lower
- Monitor humidity levels by installing a humidistat
- Minimise the amount of fabric or upholstered furnishings in home or work environments. Leather, vinyl, wood and plastic are better options.
- Opt for tiled floors or wooden floorboards instead of carpets, rugs and mats where practical
- Choose venetian or flat blinds instead of heavy fabric curtains to dress windows
People in Western countries are spending 90% of their time indoors, either at work or at home. Correct ventilation and a minimal amount of fabric and soft furnishings can drastically reduce the amount of dust mites in an interior room. Talk to an ELTA Fans representative to discuss ventilation solutions for your home or workplace today.