Never underestimate the power of a fresh breath of air. When people are feeling particularly stressed, taking a healthy dose of oxygen can do wonders to keep calm.
Apart from that, being able to breathe is a reminder; that when there is breath, there is hope.
Imagine that one day, you are having a hard time taking in a good breath. The unpleasant feeling may feel similar to the light at the end of the tunnel slowly darkening.
This is what people with asthma experience.
Asthma has many causes. One cause we want to look into is tiny mites and if they can trigger this serious breathing problem.
Let’s find out whether dust mites are capable of causing asthma.
What Are Dust Mites?
A dust mite is a tiny creature that is difficult to see with the naked eye. They are relatives of spiders and ticks. As their name suggests, they love to reside in dust-laden areas.
There is no physical description for what a mite would look like, at least not any worthwhile ones. As stated previously, this is because they are tiny. They are so small that one would need a microscope to get a good look at them.
When looking through a microscope though, people would see a white creature that resembles a spider. In size, they are typically only a third or fourth of a millimetre.
These pests are not normal in the sense of what they consume. They do not eat normal food or need to drink any water in order to survive. Instead, they feast on dead human cells.
Where They Reside and Thrive
Mites can show up in any and all houses. There just have to be key factors in place for them to show up. This factor is humidity.
They thrive in warm and humid environments. This is one of the reasons why these mites do not need to drink any water. The humidity in the air is all they need. They simply absorb it to help and sustain them.
They are commonly found in bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes. The latter two can serve as nests where many of them can cluster and reside.
Do Dust Mites Cause Asthma?
The short answer is yes, these mites can trigger symptoms in the asthmatic.
These microscopic insects are not ones that bite, sting or dig deep into people’s bodies. If that is the case, then how do they affect people then? The answer may unsettle some.
People’s allergies act up whenever they inhale certain proteins in the dust. This particular protein actually comes from the faecal matter, urine, or dead bodies of these mites.
While they are a large cause of asthmatic symptoms, it must be noted though that not all people experiencing it are allergic to them. Thus, in some cases, mites do not trigger it. However, this is a relatively small percentage when compared to those affected by them.
Symptoms of Dust Allergies
It is important to note that dust allergies and asthma are two different things. The latter is a chronic illness while the former is an allergy.
Asthma attacks can be brought about by dust allergies. However, it should not be confused as the same thing.
With that said, some common symptoms of dust allergies are:
- A runny or itchy nose
- Congested sinuses
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Coughing and sneezing
These are mostly upper respiratory reactions. In some cases, it can progress and lower respiratory reactions. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
Finally, a new study uncovered that being exposed to these mites can possibly do long lasting lung and DNA damage.
Tips To Protect Against Mite Allergies
With dust being an important part of these mites, it would only make sense that dusting helps get rid of them.
This should be done at least once a week or included in your cleaning routine as seen fit. Use a damp cloth to dust all surfaces in your home, especially those that tend to collect dust easily like blinds and bookshelves.
A dependable microfibre cloth is good to use as it will help to absorb the dust and not just send it floating to other surfaces.
Doing this will not only lessen the number of mites and allergic asthmatic reactions, but it will also improve the overall quality of air at home.
Carpets are one of the places where mites love to reside. They are difficult to clean and even vacuuming regularly will not get rid of all the tiny mites living in it. The best solution is to replace it with hardwood floors or tiles.
If you absolutely cannot do away with carpets, then make sure to vacuum it every day using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. This will help in trapping the dust mite inside the vacuum cleaner and prevent them from going back into the air.
Cleaning Where Mites Live
Mites love places that are humid and warm. This is why they are commonly found in bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes.
To clean these places, use a damp cloth to dust all surfaces. You can also use the vacuum cleaner with the HEPA filter attachment to go over these areas.
If you want to take it a step further, you can wash all beddings in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) at least once a week. This will help kill any possible mites that may be residing there.
As for upholstered furniture, carpets, and drapes, you can have them professionally cleaned at least once a year.
Another way to get rid of mites is by reducing the humidity in your home. Mites thrive in humid conditions so by lowering the humidity, you will make your home less hospitable for them.
You can do this by using a dehumidifier or keeping your air conditioner on especially during summer. The ideal humidity level should be around 30-50%.
You can also open up windows and doors to let fresh air in and help circulate the air inside your home.
It Might Matter
Dust mites are tiny creatures that most people are unaware of. These mites thrive in dust and humid places like carpets, beddings, and upholstered furniture.
While they may be tiny, their presence can be felt by those who are allergic to them. The symptoms range from mild (runny nose, itchy eyes) to more severe (shortness of breath, wheezing). In some cases, dust allergies can trigger asthma attacks.
The microscopic size of these pests may seem insignificant to some. However, in understanding their characteristics, their nature, where they reside, and how they affect people, it might matter one day.
Help Out With the Right Skills
This knowledge may be used to help people who are experiencing sneezing or coughing at home but don’t know why.
Along with this knowledge, it is best to equip oneself with first aid skills. In certain cases when the asthmatic symptoms are triggered, understanding what to do may come in handy.
Who knows? The skills and knowledge you’ll learn may even save a life one day, even outside of asthmatic incidents.
Learn more about first with CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today.