If you have recently had an allergy test due to seasonal allergy symptoms, then you may have been told that you are allergic to dust mites. Dust mite allergies are extremely common. However, some people believe certain misconceptions surrounding this type of allergy. If you want to understand your allergy properly so you are able to control it, keep reading to learn about the truth behind a few misconceptions.
Misconception: A Dust Mite Allergy Means You Are Allergic to Dust
Many people say they are allergic to dust when they have a dust mite allergy. However, this is not true. A dust mite allergy actually means that you are allergic to the waste that is left behind by dust mites. The waste contains a certain type of protein that your body is allergic to. This means that you are not allergic to the mites themselves or to dust. Dust mites are extremely small and translucent bugs. They are between 0.2 and 0.3 millimeters in length. Dust mites do not live that long. Specifically, a single mite will not live longer than 70 days. However, a single one will produce about 2,000 bits of fecal matter within their lifetime.
Dust mite feces can easily fly into the air and reach your lungs. This is one reason why allergists suggest the use or air purifiers in the home. If you want to purchase one of these devices, then choose a model that has a high clean air delivery rate (CADR). This rate indicates the square footage in the home that the machine can clean and how quickly it can remove contaminants from the air. A higher rating will mean that a larger area can be cleaned and air can be purified relatively quickly. Also, make sure the device has a HEPA filter so very small particles can be removed from the air.
Do not buy an air purifier device that claims that it produces ozone, though. While this will make your house smell better, ozone can irritate the lungs and contribute to allergy symptoms. You should look for a product that contains an ionizer, however. This part of the purifier will release negative ions into the air. The particles attach to dust and debris in the home and make them fall to the ground. This allows you to clean up the dust and debris more thoroughly when you vacuum.
Misconception: Dust Mites Live within the Home's Dust
Dust mites live in a wide variety of places in the home. However, they are not likely to accumulate around the dust bunnies under your couch. The mites are far more likely to live in your mattresses, couches, and other soft furniture items. This allows the bugs to live close to their food source, which happens to be the flakes of skin that fall off your body. Since a great deal of these flakes break away while you sleep, the vast majority of the mites will live in your mattress. Female dust mites will lay eggs in the mattress during their life cycle. The eggs will hatch and more and more mites will end up living in your mattress over time. You will breathe in dust mite feces when you sleep, and this is one reason why you may feel stuffed up when you awake in the morning.
The best way to keep your mattress, and the dust mite colony living inside of it, from making you ill is to invest in a sealed mattress cover. These types of covers zip over your mattress and seal the dust mites inside. The mites will then suffocate and die, and you will not breathe in any fecal matter when you sleep. You should make sure to purchase covers for your pillow though, too, since mites can live in them as well.
Contact a company like Southern Allergy and Asthma PC to learn more about controlling your dust mite allergy.