What are Dust Mites?

Dust mites are tiny microscopic creatures that are often  a cause of allergy symptoms and asthma.  They belong to the family of eight-legged creatures called arachnids. This family also includes spiders, chiggers and ticks.

Dust mites are hardy creatures that live well and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 75 percent to 80 percent, and die when the humidity falls below 40 percent to 50 percent.

Can Dust Mites Cause Asthma?

Body parts and droppings from dust mites can trigger asthma in individuals with allergies to dust mites. Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.

Typical symptoms of house dust mite allergies are itchiness, sneezing, inflamed or infected eczema, watering/reddening eyes, sneezing repeatedly and frequently; e.g., on waking up sneezing 10 or more times, runny nose and clogging in the lungs.

Actions You Can Take to Reduce Dust Mites in your Home:

The EPA suggests:

  • Wash bedding in hot water once a week. Dry completely.
  • Use dust proof covers on pillows and mattresses.
  • Vacuum carpets and furniture every week.
  • Choose stuffed toys that you can wash. Wash stuffed toys in hot water. Dry completely before your child plays with the toy.

Common house dust may also contain asthma triggers. These simple steps can help:

  • Dust often with a damp cloth.
  • Vacuum carpet and fabric-covered furniture to reduce dust build-up using a high efficiency (HEPA) filter. People with asthma or allergies should leave the area being vacuumed. Read more about Air Filters – Available Guide for Their Comparison.
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