House Dust Mites are tiny microscopic bugs, measuring at just 0.2mm which live in our homes, mainly in soft furnishings such as carpets, curtains, chairs and our beds.
The mites enjoy a life of feasting on the dead skin cells which we shed every day throughout our homes and are, in themselves, harmless to humans. All that feasting, however, does cause waste and the mites can produce up to 200 times their body weight in waste product. Unfortunately, whilst the mites are harmless to humans, their waste product can cause an allergic reaction similar to that experienced by hay fever sufferers.
They’re in my bed?
Yes. We spend a lot of time in our beds and a large surface area of our bodies is in contact with the bed linen, which means we liberally spread those skin cells around, creating somewhat of a smorgasbord for the mites.
But don’t worry, they won’t bite or attack you; if you’re being bitten or stung in your bed, it’s important to identify the cause and deal with this appropriately as bed bugs, for example, which do bite, can quickly infest whole areas.
How do I get rid of them?
Unfortunately, there’s little chance you will actually get rid of the mites altogether. You can, however, take some simple steps to mitigating their propagation and reduce the risk of a build-up of mite waste and a reaction.
Start with your flooring. Hard floors are best as the mites like nothing better than a nice full carpet. If this isn’t practical, however, you should vacuum your carpets and rugs regularly to suck up the skin cells and the critters themselves. This also applies to curtains and soft furnishings, such as sofas. If you can wash cushion covers and other fabrics, do.
When it comes to your bed, changing your bed linen regularly and washing them often is the best way to flush out any mites.
In general, you can also help to stop the mites reproducing by making your home less comfortable to them; they love a warm, humid environment, so keeping it cooler and dry will help to keep the mite numbers down.
How to treat a reaction
If you do have a reaction to dust mites, there are a number of products, such as antihistamines, which are available online or over the counter at your local pharmacy. If the problems persist, however, you should speak to your pharmacist or even doctor for advice.
There is also a wealth of information online when it comes to a dust allergy too.