What is in Dust?
House dust is a mixture of many substances. Its content varies from home to home and business to business, but the most commonly found in dust mold spores, insect fragments, dust mites, dead human and animal skin, fibers and building materials.
What are Dust Mites?
Dust mites, close relatives of ticks and spiders, are too small to see without a microscope. Dust mites eat skin cells shed by people, and they thrive in warm, humid environments. In most homes, bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting provide an ideal environment for dust mites.
High levels of exposure to dust mite are an important factor in the development of asthma in children. People who are allergic to dust mites react to proteins within the bodies and feces of the mites. These particles are found mostly in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. They float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on a carpet or disturbs bedding, but settle out of the air soon after the disturbance is over.
Dust mite-allergic people who inhale these particles frequently experience allergy symptoms. There may be many as 19,000 dust mites in one gram of dust, but usually between 100 to 500 mites live in each gram. (A gram is about the weight of a paper clip.) Each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste particles per day and lives for 30 days. Egg-laying females can add 25 to 30 new mites to the population during their lifetime.
Mites eat particles of skin and dander, so they thrive in places where there are people and animals. Dust mites don’t bite, cannot spread diseases and usually do not live on people. While usual household insecticides have no effect on dust mites, there are ways to reduce exposure to dust mites in the home.
Why does it seem dust is returning shortly after dusting or cleaning?
While dust will always exist in every environment, it can become an irritant and affect certain individual’s health. If the environment is begin cleaned consistently and the dust keeps coming back, it is usually an indication there is a source within the property producing consistent particulates. For example, if a mold problem exists, the mold will produce spores that lay in the settled dust. It is important to have an assessment and testing of the property conducted to identify potential sources.
Why does house dust cause allergic reactions?
House dust is comprised of a melting pot of many elements. Its content can vary from place to place, but the most common allergy triggers within the dust are:
• Dust mites
• Animal hair and dander
• Food particles
Any of these allergens can cause a response in the immune system which results in an allergic inflammatory response.
What are symptoms to dust or dust mite allergy?
Dust and dust mite allergy symptoms caused by include:
• Runny nose
• Itchy, red or watery eyes
• Nasal congestion
• Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
• Postnasal drip
• Facial pressure and pain
• Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
Individuals with asthma may also experience:
• Difficulty breathing
• Chest tightness or pain
• Whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
• Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath
Tips for reducing house dust allergens.
1. Keep indoor humidity below 55 percent. Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers. You may need a dehumidifier. Use vent fans in bathrooms and when cooking to remove moisture.
2. Repair all water leaks.
3. Remove wall-to-wall carpets from the bedroom if possible.
4. Use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly.
5. Keep pets out of the bedroom at ALL times.
6. Consider using a HEPA Air Cleaner in the bedroom.
7. Encase mattresses and pillows with “mite-proof” covers.
8. Wash all bed linens regularly using hot water. (Dust mites allergy.)
9. Do not leave out uncovered food at night.
10. Use roach traps and schedule regular professional pest control
11. Change the filter in HVAC system at least every three months
12. Have your heating and air-conditioning units inspected and serviced every six months.