Doing research for this week’s article, I notice that I am probably living with more roommates than I knew was imaginable. Even worse, I am sleeping with most of them. So, as I highlight the nasty story and prevention methods, I am comforted by the sound of the washing machine and the thought of the book I will be reading tonight while I am unable to sleep in my own bed.
Dust mites are bugs. They are not parasites as I had thought. They do not live off anything living and they do not want to get onto your body. They like to be in nice, warm, moist environments that have dead skin cells. (Dead skin cells and dander from people or pets are a dust mite’s delicacy.) There is no better place to find this than your bed and pillow where you spend one-third of your life. Not to say that they also wouldn’t make do with furniture, carpet, curtains, and any other great places that can accommodate such a great living environment.
Do you have dust mites? If you have them are you a dirty person? Well, sad but true, yes, you most likely have them. You would have to check for them microscopically since they cannot be seen with the naked eye. Any test could possibly cost you money and give you probable results: you have dust mites. Does it mean you are dirty? No. It means you are normal.
You probably wonder how these dust mites moved in with you in the first place. Some could have been in your carpet before you moved in. (If the apartment was steam cleaned with hot water, after all furniture and curtains were removed, the population would be significantly reduced.) Odds are most moved in with you. They attach to any material, hair, fur, feathers or any other nice hiding spot doubling as a mode of transportation to your home. Once in your home, dust mites can spread out easily by transfer to carpet, your socks, furniture, pajamas and into your bed.
The most harmful result of dust mites is the effect from allergies. The body parts and fecal matter from dust mites is the second most common allergen. The dust mites multiply like mad in a good living environment and produce a lot of fecal matter when they are eating well in this wonderful environment.
As we all know the best way to get roommates to move out voluntarily is to make the environment unpleasant. Not surprisingly, it is the same with these little unwanted roommates. The first thing you want to do is lower the population as much as possible and take measures to keep them from moving back in.
I reviewed a few websites and they really don’t vary in their guidelines on how to handle dust mites. Environmental, Health and Safety Online was probably the most precautionary. For me, I’m not running out to buy all new wooden furniture, replacing my curtains with plastic shades and pulling up all my carpet. I will be doing what I can to stay as dust free as possible. I will be cleaning my linens in hot water from now on. I will also be ensuring that my pillows are thrown in the washer more often.
The University of Nebraska’s website had basically the same preventative information as the other website but much more information on the dust mite’s life cycle, the necessary living conditions, and allergens produced. They also provide an attractive, blown up picture of your cozy little bedmates.
I calculated how many loads of laundry I have to do this week; sorry if my next blog entry is late.