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How Dangerous are Dust Mites to My Health?

"What are dust mites? Where do they come from? Are they really dangerous to my health? Dust mites are extremely common in North America, and their impact on human health is just now being realized—they're believed to be among the top causes of asthma and allergic symptoms in the world today. Dust mites are tiny arachnids (that's right, they're in the spider family) that survive primarily by eating dead human skin. Although it's almost impossible to see their .5 mm bodies with the naked eye, they can be seen with the help of a bright light and magnifying glass. And, although their numbers are kept in check outdoors by other predators, dust mites thrive indoors and reproduce by the millions in pillows, carpeting, mattresses, box springs, sofas, window treatments and more. The naturally shredded skin from one human can easily feed one million dust mites, and approximately ten percent of the weight of an old throw pillow in the average "bachelor" pad can be made up of dead dust mites and their feces. Any upholstered or carpeted surface in the home is a target for dust mites, and perspiration, humidity and lack of a good hygienic maintenance program opens the door to infestations.

How long do dust mites live? What are the signs that I might have them? Dust mites live between 30 and 70 days, but their fecal matter and digestive process, which generates enzyme-infested dust particles, are catalysts for allergic reactions in humans. Common symptoms of allergic reactions to dust mites include symptoms similar to persistent common colds and hay fever as well as seemingly chronic ear infections, eczema, asthma, itchy patches of skin on the face and elbows and much more. It's been estimated the 95 percent of homes in North America are also home to dust mites, but this figure is rapidly changing because many people are becoming aware of the health hazard dust mites represent.

Millions of tiny spiders are living in my carpets and bedding by eating my dead skin? This is horrific! What can I do to stop this? Researchers at Clemson University suggest that climate plays a role in the battle against dust mites because the mites can only live in areas where the relative humidity exceeds 50 percent. While people living in arid climates like those found in the southwestern high and low deserts might imagine this leaves them out of the dust mite party, researches say this isn't necessarily the case. Human perspiration and saliva can still combine to create micro-climates within bedding, carpeting and upholstered materials that will sustain the mites in almost any climate, but the battle is much easier to win in dry climates. Male dust mites clump together into large groups, and this action keeps the group's precious moisture from evaporating during extended dry spells—but dust mites cannot survive without food in any climate.

How do I get rid of dust mites? What kills dust mites? Must I just live with dust mites? The good news is: Dust mites can't survive in your home if you know what you're doing and are willing to take action. Special allergy resistant bedding treatments are available to seal off dust mite access to mattresses, pillows, comforters and more, but the most important weapon in the anti-dust mite arsenal is an excellent vacuum cleaner. Carpeting and upholstery are ground zero battlefields for dust mites. Most vacuum cleaners advertised as HEPA aren't truly HEPA at all because they leak contaminated air back into the room due to poor dust compartment and exhaust designs. Allergy sufferers are extremely fond of machines made by Miele because they're the one and only make of machines that are certified HEPA clean as complete units (capturing particulate matter down to .3 microns)—while vacuums made by other manufacturers carry only HEPA certifications for the filter elements inside the machines. This is extremely important: Miele vacuums are the only complete vacuums that are certified to capture dust mites and their feces. If you're battling dust mites, you're wasting your time with most other machines because you're just spraying them around the room via the vacuum's exhaust.

About the author

Yeeech! I don't want to spend another day with dust mites in my house! Who can I call? It's possible to win the war against dust mites. The folks at GoVacuum.com are highly knowledgeable when it comes to beating dust mites, and they're happy to speak with you around the clock. A truly clean home isn't as hard to maintain as many imagine. Telephone 24 hours a day at 1-888-468-2210 or visit them on the web at http://www.govacuum.com.

GoVacuum.com, family owned and operated since 1996, has an impressive record of friendly customer service and great frequent-buyer-discounts. Customers love the site's ease of use, huge inventory, and unbeatable prices.