What are Dust Mites?

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Dust mites are tiny insects that are invisible to the naked eye.

Every home has dust mites. They feed on human skin flakes and are found in mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bedcovers, clothes, stuffed toys and fabric and fabric-covered items. Body parts and feces from dust mites can trigger asthma in individuals with allergic reactions to dust mites, and exposure to dust mites can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.

Actions You Can Take

  • Cover mattresses and pillows with dust proof ("allergen-impermeable") zippered covers.
  • Wash bedding (sheets, blankets and bedcovers) once per week in hot water.
  • Choose washable stuffed toys, wash them often in hot water and dry them thoroughly.
  • Keep stuffed toys off beds.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally between 30-50% relative humidity. Humidity levels can be measured by hygrometers which are available at local hardware stores.

Common house dust may contain asthma triggers. When you are treating your house for dust mites, try these simple steps as well.

  • Remove dust often with a damp cloth.
  • Vacuum carpet and fabric-covered furniture to reduce dust build-up.
  • Using vacuums with high efficiency filters or central vacuums may be helpful.
  • People with asthma or allergies should leave the area being vacuumed.
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
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