While many people do not know about the existence of dust mites, others have blamed the red itchy spots found on their skin to dust mite bites. What are dust mites? Do dust mites bite? Let’s find out.
Had dust mites been as visible as other insects such as spiders in our houses, a lot of us will choose to leave our residences due to the absolutely huge numbers they are usually found, sometimes numbering up to several millions at a single spot. But thankfully that’s not the case. Though they are present almost in every space within our homes, their microscopic nature makes it almost impossible for us to locate them with our naked eyes.
Also called house dust mites, the bugs are so tiny our unaided eye cannot not easily spot them, they are less than 0.3 millimeter in length and top it, their bodies are translucent, making it impossible to see them unless one uses a 10x magnifier.
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Dust Mite Bites vs Bed Bug Bites
There is an intense debate as to who is the culprit when we get mysteriously bitten while sleeping or sitting on our sofa. Due the purported high number, these bites are quickly attributed to dust mites. But what is the actual truth? Do dust mites bite?
The simple answer is NO, dust mites are harmless as far as physical contact with our bodies is concerned. They only feed on our dead skin tissue and that is where their interest in us begins and ends.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, do bite us, and sometimes will leave us for days with horrible marks and pains on our bodies. So dust mites are unjustifiably blamed for the crimes of the bed bug, due to their mysterious nature and little awareness among people about them.
The fact that bed bugs are also found in the crevices of our beds and sofas makes it more complicated to exonerate the dust mites from the claim that they do bite. Bed bugs are viewed as inherently dirty and a sign of unclean and unhygienic environments, perhaps one of the reasons most people fain ignorance to having them and then blame dust mites for any biting incident that occurs.
Dust Mite Bites (or Rather Allergies)
These are prolific excrement producers, who despite not being biters do have certain effect on a certain category of people. The allergic reaction is seen in mostly very young or old people, and come mostly from their fecal pellets that lay around almost everywhere in our houses. The microscopic pellets when widespread are what we see as house dust that induces some allergic reactions in certain individuals.
Dust Mite Allergy Symptoms
- Some people with allergic reaction to dust mites tend to have cold-like reactions such as continuous sneezing and running nose
- Eyes become very irritated. Some become very red in color, while others become watery
- Other people’s nasal cavity clogs, as if they were having a cold
- For some people the upper pallet of the mouth becomes uncomfortably itchy, as well as the throat and the insides of the nose
- Chesty coughs are also very common
- Some people develop bags under their eyes as if they have been crying for too long
- In children, the frequent rubbing their nose is an early indication of allergic reactions
As you can see, dust mite bites can be difficult to identify as the symptoms are very similar to those of asthma or cold and can be easily mistaken as such.
Bed bug bites, on the other hand, are easier to identify. That is if you have red spots or welts when you wake up in the morning, you are likely to have bed bug bites. These spots look similar to mosquito bites but can take several days to appear on your skin and tend to last longer. It’s also common for these bites to group together which leads you to believe that you have a rash.
Treatment for Dust Mite Bites
The best possible treatment for dust mite bites (allergies) is prevention by limiting the times you are exposed to them. However,if you are already caught up, the following over- the-counter medicines can help in doing away with the symptoms
- Antihistamines: These are anti-itching medications that relieve on the biggest and most annoying symptoms of dust mites allergies
- Decongestants: If you are suffering from clogged nostrils then you need to get any member of the decongestant family of drugs to help free it
- Nasal Steroids: In severe attacks where noses swell, one can use nasal steroid to help reduce the irritation and help you breathe easily
Facts about Dust Mites
Most people don’t know of the actual existence of dust mites. Here are a few facts about the insects to familiarize ourselves with them:
- Dust mites are the “vultures” among insects as they only feed on dead tissue, usually our skin flakes that peel off, or those from pets we keep around the house.
- Dust mites are concentrated in places like our mattress, sofas and pillows all due to the concentration of dead tissue from our bodies
- Humans shed about a quarter of an ounce in dead cells every week which make us a constant supply of food for the dust mites
- Dust mites prefer warmer environments to cold ones. They thrive in environments that are usually higher than 21 degree Celsius, and they easily die in colder environs
- A dust mite male has a much shorter life span when compared to their female counterparts, lasting anything from 9 to 19 days before it dies
- A hatched female dust mite can live up to 2 months and a few weeks, and can lay as much as a hundred eggs in its lifetime.
- The female begins to lay eggs in the last five weeks of its life
- Dust mites prefer humid environs and cannot survive in harshly dry ones.
How to Get Rid of Dust Mites
Dust mites are a sort of invaders that have already won any way we might wage on them. However, the effects of their allergies can be greatly curtailed to the barest possible minimums. Some of the ways to limit dust mite concentration and allergies include:
- Denying it access to our mattress by using plastic bags or mite impervious bed covers
- By dehumidifying the room and lowering its temperature below the minimum 70 degree Fahrenheit it can survive.
- Using very hot water to wash your bed covers and pillows weekly will make sure their presence on your bed is reduced to the barest minimum.
- Use synthetic fiber-filled pillows rather than the traditional foam or feather pillows
- Vacuum your parlors extensively twice every week if possible. Use an air filter when available
- Stuffed animals and other feathered toys are big dust mite collectors, so avoid them
- Carpets are dust mite heaven. If possible, remove and replace them with tiles or bare board floors