The Ohio State University Acarology Lab released a gruesome video guaranteed to make you uncomfortable as you lay down in bed tonight. The video shows thousands of microscopic dust mites squirming on top of each other and their own feces. Dust mites love warm, moist environments and mattresses are the perfect breeding grounds.
A dust mite is about a 0.2 to 0.3 millimeters in length. One dust mite excretes 20 yellow feces daily. They feed on shredded human skin and propagate in humid, warm areas of the house. Dr. Lisa Ackerley, a home hygiene expert explained that humans discard about half an ounce dead skin weekly and most of them are found in bed.
"Dust mites like warm moist environments, the bed's the perfect environment. They reproduce so there will be about 10 million per bed," said Ackerley. The dust mites alone are not harmful; however, many people are allergic to their feces which can cause hay fever, dry eyes, eczema, cough and rhinitis. Scientists estimate that 10 percent of a two-year-old pillow is made up to dust mites and their yellow droppings.
"Measures to avoid house dust mite will lower, but do not totally remove, dust mite allergens," wrote Allergy UK. Ventilation is very important but in most homes, people often shut the windows close, giving dust mites a grand time. Allergy UK recommends the following tips to control dust mite allergens around the house and not just in the bedroom.
- Wash beddings weekly, especially those that are not covered in sheets or blankets and are directly exposed to human skin.
- Washing items at 60 degrees Centigrade (140 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher can kill the dust mites. Low temperature washes can keep the allergen away but only temporarily, leaving dust mites to survive and poop out more allergens after some time.
- Carpets on concrete floors are dust mite traps. It is also a place for mold spores to live. However, if carpets are essential in your homes, vacuuming regularly using a high-temperature steam can effectively kill the mites.
- There are also sprays designed to kill dust mites. Use them cautiously, especially if someone in the family is suffering from respiratory problems.
- Using a dehumidifier to control in-house humidity between 30 to 50 percent can also aid in control dust mite allergens.