6 Ways To Keep Dust Mites Away
We’re surrounded by thousands of microscopic living organisms every second of every day. Some of those critters include dust mites.
What are dust mites?
A dust mite is only about ¼ to ⅓ of a millimeter, which means they’re too tiny to see with your eyes. Underneath a microscope, this little guys look like white bugs, with 8 legs. Though they have an insect-like appearance, they’re actually arthropods, like spiders. Dust mites enjoy temperatures between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (aka the average temperature inside homes). While not harmful, they feed on tiny flakes of human skin that we shed on our furniture, carpets, bedding, and stuffed toys. The problem with dust mites is that many people are allergic to them.
Symptoms of an allergy to dust mites
If you or someone in your household is experiencing any of the following symptoms and you can’t identify a root cause, chances are likely that dust mites are to blame. Warnings signs of a dust mite allergy include:
- Cold or flu symptoms
- Hives and rashes
- Postnasal drip
- Congestion and sinus pressure
- Red or watery eyes
- Trouble sleeping
- Chest pain and tightness
- Severe asthma attack
- Poor indoor air quality
With many of these symptoms, you should speak with a doctor or medical professional to address the symptom and get help to control it.
How to protect yourself from dust mites
Air flow and adequate ventilation
While a properly sealed in home is great for maintaining good energy efficiency, it can have negative effects to indoor air quality. Without adequate ventilation, air can sit inside of your home, making your dust mite allergies worse. Talk to an HVAC specialist to find out if your home has proper ventilation and what options you have to combat dust mites with your HVAC system.
Dust mites are more prevalent in summer months, when humidity is at an all-time high. Dust mites thrive in moist, humid environments so having too much humidity trapped inside of your home can create a breeding ground for dust mites (in addition to other pests, mold, and mildew!). Having a whole humidifier can help control the humidity levels in your home, allowing you maintain comfort while keeping dust mites at bay.
There are air filters on the market that are specifically designed to trap dust mites to keep them from spreading throughout your home. A cheap air filter may be cost-effective but it’s likely not fine enough to trap small particles like dust mites. To find out what air filter would work best with your HVAC system, talk to an HVAC technician. Your HVAC tech will likely tell you that while a clean air filter is great for maintaining good energy efficiency and indoor air quality, they’ll also inform you that you should be regularly replacing or cleaning your filter, too.
Along with a good air filter, you should also invest in an air purifier for your home. Whole home air purifiers exist and are relatively affordable, especially with financing. Talk to an HVAC expert to figure out what kind of air purifier would be best for your home.
The cleaner your home is, the less likely you’re going to accumulate as many dust mites. Frequently vacuum your carpets and rugs (ideally once a week if you have allergies). Dust and wipe down surfaces with a damp towel or rag to capture dust mites that may have settled into the grime. If you can, avoid accumulating clutter, which can harbor dust mites and other allergens. Don’t forget to wear a dust mask when cleaning to avoid irritation!
You should have your ducts professionally inspected and cleaned each year as part of your HVAC system maintenance. Professional duct cleaning improves indoor air quality, increase your HVAC system performance, and leads to a cleaner home.
To schedule a consultation to discuss improvements to your indoor air quality, contact A-Abel today!