House dust mites (HDM) are becoming well known household enemies as more studies about how they affect our health have been reported.
More products have also been introduced in the market that allegedly able to reduce or totally eliminate these creatures from our furniture. Despite many publication and reports on HDM, it is not surprising for many to mistake bed bugs for HDM, clueless where their hideouts are and what harm they can cause to our health.
To clear the confused, below are some simple facts about HDM and suggestions how to manage them.
1. They CANNOT be seen with our eyes
HDM are microscopic 8-legged insect, about 0.5mm in length for a big sized adult size. You can’t see them clearly without using a microscope. If you spot a tiny insect running on your mattress, likely it is not a dust mite!
2. They DON’T bite!
HDM neither suck our blood nor nip our skin. They feed on our shed skin flakes. So, they don’t bite. Unless your room’s window is never opened and air conditioner is turned on 24 hours every day, there will be chances where tiny insects from outside enter into your room and bite when you sleep.
3. They can cause allergy reactions
HDM’s faeces and excrements contain certain proteins that commonly trigger allergy reactions when inhaled by those who are susceptible towards them and develop symptoms like wheezing, runny nose, itchy skin, itchy eyes, etc.
4. You are sleeping with millions of dust mites
A regular queen sized bed can typically house 2 million dust mites as the mattress provides the best living condition for these tiny creatures. To grow, their favourite diet is mainly shed skin flakes and possibly spores from fungi and mold. They thrive in warm and humid environments. When their preferred diet and living condition are combined, our mattress fits their ideal home requirement!
Besides the mattress, dust mites can be found in carpet, fabric upholstery, and soft toys.
5. You can’t totally eliminate them, but you can minimise their population
It is impossible to 100% dust mite proof a home but with sufficient precaution steps, you can effectively minimise their presence in your home. Do not be misled by marketing promises that guarantee total elimination of dust mites in the mattress, carpet, etc in your home.
Tips to reduce House Dust Mites:
- Vacuum mattress, fabric upholsteries, and rugs weekly.
- Cover mattress and pillows with dust mite resistant covers. Covers should be washed monthly with hot water above 60C.
- Wash bed linen and pillow case weekly with hot water above 60C.
- Duvet or blankets should be washed once in 2 months with water above 60C.
- Remove furry soft toys from beddings and prevent furry pets to enter the bedroom.