Chances are, you’ve already got dust mites in your home. These pernicious little creatures are found on every continent except Antarctica, so unless you’re willing to move to an uninhabitable, icy tundra, you’ve likely dealt (or are dealing) with them in your home. And with dust mites come the subsequent allergy and asthma symptoms they can not only cause, but can actually make worse.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the number of dust mites in your home, which can greatly lessen the effects they have if you employ some simple strategies and solutions – and one of those has to do with reducing the humidity levels in your home.
First, Some Important Facts About Dust Mites
Dust mites – barely visible to the naked eye – aren’t like typical bugs that bite or burrow into the human body. They feed on dead skin from pets and humans, and their fecal pellets contain an allergen to which millions of people – 20 million, to be precise1 — are highly allergic. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America claims that dust mite allergies “may be the most common cause of year-round allerg[ies] and asthma.”
These little pests are nearly everywhere; roughly 4 out of 5 homes in the US have detectable levels of dust mite allergens in at least one bed2. One thing they love almost as much as they love feeding on dead skin is a warm, humid environment; for this reason, dust mite populations typically peak during the months of July and August.
Because of this, decreasing the humidity level in your living environment can make your home much less hospitable to these very unwelcome guests, and using a dehumidifier is a great tool to accomplish that goal. In order to stay hydrated dust mites must absorb their moisture needs from the air. If the relative humidity is below 50%, dust mites will essentially dry out3.
Steps to Protect Yourself from Dust Mites
If you’re interested in protecting yourself further from dust mites, there are some steps you can take to reduce their population in your home – and get some relief if you’re one of the millions of people who are allergic to them:
• Invest in protective pillow and mattress dust mite covers for the beds in your home.
• Regularly vacuum all carpets and upholstered items in your home with a HEPA-filter equipped vacuum cleaner.
• Use a dehumidifier (or two) in your home to reduce moisture and humidity levels. Dust mites will not thrive in dry, arid environments.
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