CREDIT Science Photo Library : Tom Jackson: Barcroft Media

CREDIT Science Photo Library : Tom Jackson: Barcroft Media

Dust mites are incredibly small spider-like insects that are impossible to see with the naked human eye. They are closely related to spiders and ticks. They live in warm habitats and live alongside humans. Their favourite food is the skin cells shed by humans. The specific dust mites we discuss here are of the genus dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. This is the species that is common in Australian homes.

Many people are allergic to dust mites and, specifically, their microscopic faeces. These allergic irritants are so tiny that they are easily ingested into the human respiratory system. And so, once inside our bodies, these microscopic particles can cause allergic reactions. Common and relatively mild reactions to dust and dust mites (known as common dust allergies and also known as dust mite allergies) include; sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, itchy nose, itchy on the roof of the throat and mouth, postnasal drip, cough, facial pressure and pain, and swollen blue colouration of the skin under eyes. Further, in children, the upward rubbing of the nose is another sign and symptom.

Severe dust allergies can be very serious

In severe cases, allergic reactions to dust can cause asthmatic reactions, including difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, a whistling sound when exhaling, trouble sleeping and severe bouts of coughing and wheezing. In extreme cases, medical intervention is necessary. If the house is infested with dust and dust mites, medicine can do only so much. In our experience, we need to fix the cause and treat the symptoms. And the reason is everyday house dust, and there’s quite a lot you can do about it, thankfully.

Understanding how these microscopic creatures live is the first step. Then you can exert some control over their impact on your health. The second step is understanding how dust works and why it is so hard to get it all out and live dust free. And the final step is, once understand how dust behaves, to adopt ways and means of reducing the amount of microscopic dust in your home over time.

Overcoming dust allergies is a journey, and you will need some patience as the answers are not easily seen immediately. Suffice it to say; fine dust floats because of the static electricity charge we put on the dust particles when we bother them. These particles float for up to five days. We’ve written an article here that will help.

Dust mite size

We human beings are used to navigating our world with the immediate sense of sight. So much so that we can find it difficult to understand those things we can’t see. And indeed, dust mites are so small we need a microscope to see them. They are estimated by the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation to be only one-quarter of a millimetre in size. So you can’t see them. If you can reduce the dust in your home, you can cut into their breeding cycle and dramatically decrease their numbers, thereby impacting your health. Please famiuliarise yourself with the information on this website to help you live relatively dust-free.