Building Biology | Dust Mites
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Dust Mites

Dust Mites

Contrary to popular belief, the mites themselves are not generally the problem; it’s a protein known as Der P1 in their faeces that people are allergic to.

House dust mites (HDM) are the most common cause of asthma and allergies worldwide with up to 10% of the general population sensitive to them. Wherever there is dust and humans, there’ll be dust mites. As such they are ubiquitous in our homes. They are microscopic creatures that thrive in warm moist places including our beds, furnishings and carpets, and feed off dead skin cells and mould. Contrary to popular belief, the mites themselves are not generally the problem; it’s a protein known as Der P1 in their faeces that some people are allergic to.

Unlike pollens which occur seasonally, dust mite allergies generally occur all year round. Typical symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, dry persistent cough, wheezing and dermatitis. Symptoms are worse at night and upon waking and generally improve when you are away from the source.

Testing

  • As house dust mite are everywhere, testing for them is generally not recommended.

Solutions

  • Reduce the dust load in the home (see dust)
  • Wash soft toys and bedding in hot water and expose to full sun on a regular basis
  • Vacuum the mattress and pillows at least monthly
  • Use space bags to store clothes and linen that wont be used for a while
  • Use dust mite resistant protectors made from natural fibres such as Protect-A-Bed and AllergEnd Plus.
  • Reduce humidity levels