I introduce you to the not so humble dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. Cute, isn’t she?
In her prime, she will stretch no longer than half a millimetre. But that doesn’t mean she can’t do serious damage to us human beings. And she’s a breeder, reproducing at a rate of 60 new little dust mites every month.
Dr Matt Colloff from the CSIRO’s entomology department says they cause “Allergic asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis – a skin disease” and that “approximately 100 million people at a conservative estimate worldwide may suffer from. All due to dust mites”. I’m unsure where he gets those figures from, but I agree as a layman. I visit dozens of Sydney homes every week. To my eyes, dust mites appear to affect a very high proportion of the population. He goes on to say that “the coastal fringe of Australia provides perfect conditions for hundreds of thousands of millions of mites per mattress”. Eeew.
Phew, that’s the bad news out of the way. Now for the good news.
Surprisingly there is not a lot of definitive research on this subject. So I am going to go out on a limb and postulate some methods that may not be scientifically confirmed at this point in time. But they just make sense and are anecdotally indisputable – to my mind, at least.
So one theory, and the scientist quoted above seems to agree with this, is that reducing dust mite populations is key. Reducing their number dramatically can have a correspondingly positive impact on householders’ health. The families dwelling in the home, allergic or not, always benefit from a proper clean. Certainly, if we take the other extreme, extraordinarily dusty environments make us sick. So it makes sense that extraordinarily dust-free environments are far better for us. Certainly, the air at the top of a mountain can make us feel on top of the world.
So what exactly is dust and what exactly is it about dust mites that can make us so sick? A typical indoor dust particle contains; hair, skin flakes, clothing fibres and insect body parts. There are many other things that can be present that we can’t see. These include; allergens, pollens, contaminants and dust mites and their microscopic little poos. Yuck!
The things we can’t see can hurt us
Yep, these particles are so tiny that we breathe them into our bodies, where they then access the human respiratory system through the lungs. Certainly, most of them are breathed out again, however, enough of them can get lodged for long enough for the following process to take place; Dust mites love to eat human skin scales (dead skin), and often they don’t digest all of the enzymes present and these undigested enzymes then make their way into their droppings. When these undigested enzymes make their way into our lungs (and some believe even when simply touched), they can cause irritation and then more dramatic effects and allergy symptoms such as eczema, sneezing, itchy and runny noses, itchy eyes, and even asthma.
Certainly, we have helped many a householder who was complaining of these symptoms and more and after our 21-point clean, we find these symptoms regularly improve remarkably overnight. There is no doubt in my mind that by going after the habitat in which these little monsters dwell, we can dramatically reduce dust and dust mite populations cutting into their breeding cycle, enabling our customers to live in healthier and happier indoor environments. We truly can over come the little dust mite monster known in the trade as Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus.
So what can you do for yourself if accessing our cleaning services is not possible for you?
The first job is to reduce the levels of dust in your home, and one method for doing this is outlined in our previous article, which you can find here; https://1800cleaner.com.au/how-those-things-we-cant-see-can-hurt-us/
So once you have a cleaning schedule underway that is reducing the levels of fine particle dust in your home over time, you need to work on the following;
- Reduce clutter. Dust loves places to hide, so get minimalist-create open surfaces.
- Keep your cupboards and wardrobes neat and tidy and under clutter control.
- Avoid carpets and rugs where possible, especially for those with dust allergies.
- Get dust mite protectors for beds/bedding. Put a layer between you and the mites.
- Use the sanitising power of sunshine. Air out your house and let the sun in often.
- Wash your sheets every week. If possible, dry them in the love rays of father sun.
- Get an air filter for your bedroom. Let it run mainly when there is movement.
- Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter and clean it often.
- Put pillows (maybe your bed, too) in black plastic bags in the sun; fry the mites.
- Eliminate toxic products. Go here https://1800cleaner.com.au/eco-love-products/
This may all sound hard, but the benefits will far outstrip the energy you put in. Many of our customers experience far better sleep when we improve the quality of the air they breath. Good sleep is the backbone of a healthier life. As we feel better in the morning with an elevated mood, those little things that used to irritate us become much easier to handle. This creates a snowball effect that redounds in innumerable benefits that make your little corner of the world a more beautiful and peaceful place to dwell for you and your loved ones.
Thanks for reading, and please share.