Dust mites are common in the home, but they can lead to allergy-like reactions.
While not usually serious, these reactions can be annoying, but it’s worth knowing that dust mites don’t actually bite you. While other bugs will bite your skin, dust mites just irritate it.
What does dust mite irritation look like?
These marks usually look like red rashes on the skin.
So, what’s the best dust mite treatment?
Here’s your complete guide to sending those bites packing from your home. To start, let’s look at what dust mites do to humans and why they’re a nuisance.
How To Treat Dust Mite “Bites”
While you might get a bit of a rash as a result of irritation from dust mites, these critters can also cause you to experience allergy-like symptoms.
These include a runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and an itchy throat.
It’s worth noting that dust mites can be harmless to some people. If you already have an allergy or health condition such as asthma, however, this can make you more susceptible to dust mite irritation and reactions.
To treat these symptoms, you can use a variety of medications. These include over-the-counter antihistamines that prevent the immune system from releasing histamine that the body uses to deal with allergens.
Other types of treatment include decongestants, prescription allergy medication, and even allergy shots. The latter is useful for you if you’re experiencing a severe allergy that doesn’t get relieved by allergy medication.
How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites
The best way to deal with dust mite reactions is to prevent dust mites from being inside your home in the first place.
You can do this in a completely natural way.
Before you can start to remove dust mites, it’s important to know where dust mites are found. Since these mites feed on shed human skin cells, you’re likely to find them in places that you frequent, such as in your bedding, mattresses, carpets, rugs, and sofas.
Research has found that there’s a higher number of dust mites in the bedroom than in any other room in the home. So, you should focus on preventing dust mites in this room before moving on to the others. Here are some quick and easy ways in which to eliminate and prevent dust mites.
- Wash your bedding on the hottest setting on your washing machine as this will kill dust mites because they don’t like very high temperatures.
- Protect your mattress. Using a plastic cover on your mattress as well as fitted sheets prevents dust mites from getting into your mattress.
- Vacuum your home properly. You should do this at least once a week, and make sure that you use a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner so that you prevent dust from being released during the vacuuming process.
- Regulate your bedroom’s moisture. Dust mites like high levels of humidity, so you should keep your home at around 50 percent or lower humidity.
You can do this by opening windows in your home or using air-conditioning, as well as airing out your bedding in the morning when you get out of bed.
- Remove dust. You should eliminate dust that collects on surfaces such as tables, nightstands, and ornaments. This is because dust is made up of allergens and shed human skin cells, which will attract mites.
When removing dust, avoid using a duster as that just spreads the dust around. Rather wipe surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth that will collect and eliminate dust.
- Brush your pets regularly. Dust mites not only feed on shed human skin cells but also animal cells. Therefore, get into the habit of brushing your dogs and cats regularly.
This provides the added benefit of removing other allergens from their fur when they come inside the home. Don’t forget to clean your pets’ bedding too!
What’s The Difference Between Dust Mites And Bed Bugs?
While you might think that dust mites and bed bugs are the same pest, they are actually quite different.
Knowing their main differences will ensure that you properly eliminate both from your bedroom, so let’s look at how they differ when it comes to some important characteristics.
Bed bugs are very small – usually around 7mm in length – but you can see them with the naked eye. They are reddish-brown in colour, and have long oval and flat bodies.
Dust mites are so tiny that you can’t see them with the naked eye. If you could, they’d look like tiny white spider-like creatures – in case you didn’t know, they’re related to arachnids. These mites are between ¼ to ⅓ millimeters long.
Bed bugs are commonly found in the bedroom, in or near your bed. They tend to live inside the seams of mattresses, as well as in box springs, and behind the headboard. Bed bugs can also be found in upholstered furniture.
Similarly, dust mites are found in the same places in the home. Both dust mites and bed bugs are attracted to heat and moisture, so reducing these can help to keep both dust mites and bed bugs at bay.
As we’ve mentioned, dust mites don’t bite your skin. They feed on shed human cells. By comparison, bed bugs do bite. They pierce human skin and withdraw blood.
They can feed for up to 10 minutes at a time, but you won’t always find that they’re biting you every night. They could go for several days between feeding and it’s a myth that they only feed at night.
While you might not always have symptoms from bed bug bites, if they appear on your body they will show up as red, swollen bites with a dark spot at the centre.
The bites tend to appear in clusters or lines, and they are itchy. As they develop, the bites can become filled with fluid. In rare cases, bed bug bites can lead to serious allergic reactions.
By comparison, dust mites don’t bite but they do give you allergic reactions and irritations, as we’ve outlined earlier in this article.
It’s worth noting that if you have what appears to be an allergy all-year round, such as a runny, stuffy nose and itchy throat, and don’t have a reason for why such symptoms are happening to you, this could be a sign you’re dealing with dust mites in the home.
Do they stick to humans?
Although bed bugs don’t like high levels of heat so they won’t stick to your hair or skin, they can travel on your personal items, such as luggage, shoes, and backpacks. This is how you can bring them into your home, so be wary when staying at other people’s homes or hotels.
Interestingly, dust mites can live in your clothes.
They want to get as close to the shed human skin cells as possible!
Do they live in pet fur?
Bed bugs don’t live on pet fur, but they can bite your pets. You’re likely to find them in your pet’s bedding, though, which is why it’s so important to clean your pet’s bedding on a regular basis.
By comparison, dust mites can travel on pet fur, which is why you should brush your pets regularly to prevent the mites from getting into your home.
Do dust mites cause health complications?
If you’re someone who has a dust mite allergy, exposure to dust mites can result in health issues such as asthma and sinus infections.
Does vinegar get rid of dust mites?
It’s worth cleaning your home with vinegar – its acidity can repel dust mites and other bugs. Add 80ml of distilled water to 80ml of white vinegar and use it to spray bedding and mattresses.
You can also add some drops of your favourite essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint.
Even though dust mites don’t bite you, they can be a serious nuisance. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms and/or you have a red, itchy rash on your skin, the culprit could be dust mites.
In this article, we’ve provided you with some medical treatments you can try to eliminate the reactions from dust mite irritation, while we’ve also featured tips on how you can prevent dust mites from making a home in your house.
While you won’t ever be able to get rid of every single dust mite in your home, you can ensure that you keep their numbers down so that they’re less likely to cause you unpleasant reactions.