Dust mites are a type of tiny insect that feed primarily upon the remains of human skin. Dandruff, shed hair, and dead skin make up the core of their diet, and as sickening as that may be, it turns out that you have little to fear from mites when it comes to their ability to bite you. Simply put, dust mites don't bite humans, and they're not interested in your blood, as some online rumors may have you believe.
As EMedicineHealth points out, there has been a notable resurgence of bed bug infestations in developed countries in recent years, particularly in urban centers in the United States. Bed bug bites are characterized by reddish lesions on the skin, which may be raised or flat. They can be found in clusters or in a linear pattern, and last from one to two weeks. If you experience these symptoms and also discover evidence of blood on your sheets, you may find yourself fighting against bed bugs.
Dust mite waste and remains are linked to a range of allergic reactions, and since a normal person sheds up to an ounce of skin cells every week, these insects have an ample food source drawing them toward most mattresses. Luckily, however, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the negative health effects of mites.
- Clean your home regularly - One of the most important deterrent steps. Your body sheds skin on a regular basis, and removing this food source, as well as other attractants, is key to mitigating the presence of dust mites.
- Flip and clean your mattress and pillows
- Wash stuffed toys - These can also harbor dust mites and their waste.
- Keep your home well ventilated and cool
- Invest in latex and wool bedding
This final step is one of the most effective you can take against mites. Mattresses and bedding made from wool and latex are not only non-toxic, due largely to a lack of fire retardant chemicals, they are also deeply inhospitable to mites. The natural structure of cotton fiber helps to draw moisture out of bedding, removing one of the key elements necessary to provide a favorable mite habitat. In addition, specialized dust mite covers can be applied to pillows and mattresses in order to prevent the transfer of moisture and mites to the inner layers of bedding. These covers make it far easier to dispose of mites and their fecal matter on a regular basis.
Green Conscience specializes in sustainable, healthy bedding. If you believe you're facing the negative effects of dust mite bites and are considering upgrading your bedding, stop by the store and speak with Karen today.
[Images: "CSIRO ScienceImage 11085 A scanning electron micrograph of a female dust mite" by CSIRO, "House Dust Mite" by Employee of US Government, FDA.]