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Information for people suffering from house dust mite allergies

What is house dust?

No two homes produce the same kind of house dust; in fact it will even differ between rooms. House dust normally consists of human and animal hair and skin cells, textile fibres, bacteria and mould, algae and dust mites. Each of these components may trigger an allergy but most people who suffer an allergic reaction to house dust are affected by dust mites and their excrement.

The mite

Mites have shared our homes for thousands of years. They are relatives of the spider, are around 0.3 mm long and cannot be seen by the naked eye. They feed on shed animal and human skin, multiply very quickly and produce around two thousand times their own bodyweight in excrement in their short lives. Since around 1964, we have known that it is this excrement which contains the allergens responsible for house dust mite allergy.

The preferred environment

House dust mites like a warm, damp and dark environment. Temperatures of between 20 and 30 °C and a relative humidity of 65 to 80 % are ideal for them. Carpets, upholstered furniture and beds and where you will commonly find these mites so it is these areas that require treatment, i.e. regular and thorough cleaning.

Bed and bedding tips

House dust mites and most importantly their allergenic excrement can only be eliminated through regular and radical removal. Chemical treatments are not recommended for bedding as it comes into contact with the body. The only solution for sufferers is to regularly wash all bedding at as high a temperature as possible (95 °C) to effectively kill any mites present. Mattresses should be fitted with a special cover which can also be washed.

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