Dust mites are bugs that are so small that they can only be seen if you use a microscope or magnifying glass. Dust mites can cause allergies for people that have them and can be dangerous for people that have low allergy tolerance.
Check out our article on the best spray to kill dust mites.
Symptoms of Dust Mite Bites and Dust Mite Allergies
Dust mites are actually to small to bite humans, but their feces and skin composition can irritate humans skin leaving the sensation or look of a bite. There are many different symptoms that people that have dust mites can experiences. Some of these symptoms can be severe and others can just be bothersome. Dust mites can cause symptoms that resemble asthma such as:
- Breathing problems
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Upper respiratory problems
Dust mites can also cause other symptoms that are not as severe such as:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Pressure in the facial area
- Runny noses
- Stuffy noses
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Swollen face
- Itchy throat
- Itchy nose
- Dry Skin
- Itchy Skin
- Cracked Skin
What Do Dust Mites Look Like?
Dust mites are creatures that can only be seen under a microscope because they are so tiny. They have eight legs and they are sometimes said to look like super small spiders. Dust mites are said to be relatives to both the spider and the ticks and look similar to both of those. Dust mites are white.
What Environment Do Dust Mites Like?
Most dust mites like to be in places that are warm, humid and dark. They tend to be found in places that have fabric and
What Do Dust Mites Do?
Dust mites eat skin cells that people lose. People and animals shed skin every day and this is what the dust mites live on. When a person or animal sheds their skin, the skin cells are so small that they can fall into carpet or be on beds or on couches or any of the living spaces. This means that there can be millions and millions of dust mites all around your home.
Do Dust Mites Bite?
A dust mite does not bite. There are many different other mites that bite such as chiggers and bed bugs, but dust mites do not bite. Although they do not bite, they can cause irritation on the skin due to allergies. Dust mites can be on your skin and can be on your clothing, but they do not survive by biting people and they only live off of the dead skin that falls off of people and of pets.
Why Do Dust Mites Make People Sick?
People can be very sensitive to the environment around them and this is the reason that dust mites can make people sick. Even though dust mites do not bite, they can cause low to severe allergies in people.
The reason that dust mites can cause allergies is because our bodies are made to react to different things that are in the environment that are different than what we are used to. For example, when the pollen count outside is really high, our bodies see this is a foreign substance and our body will react to the pollen and it will cause our bodies to get sick or to get infected.
Our bodies, the wonderful creations that they are, have learned to make antibodies for different allergens that our body sees as harmful or as foreign. When our body comes in contact with that specific allergen, our body produces ways to fight off the allergen and this is what causes allergies.
With dust mites, our body sees them as foreign substances. When our body is exposed to the dust mites for a long period of time, our bodies form antibodies and the antibodies work to fight off the dust mites. This causes our bodies to get allergies such as the stuffy nose and the upper respiratory problems.
Another problem with dust mites is that they die and decay, and they leave waste where they are present, just like all other creatures. These different allergens that are left from the dust mites also cause us to form allergies.
Can Dust Mites Make You Itchy?
Even though dust mites do not bite, they can cause people that have sensitive skin to have problems with itchiness. Since dust mites are found in all areas of our house, people that have sensitive skin or dermatitis can react to dust mites in a way that causes their skin to be itchy.
The reason that people with dermatitis react so strongly to dust mites is because the droppings that dust mites leave. When these dust mites leave droppings, the droppings can cause the skin to become itchy and can cause the skin to become inflamed.
People that live in homes that are extremely moist have an increase of dust mites because the dust mites live in homes that are moist. When people have dermatitis or eczema that causes skin to be itchy and cracked, they most likely will lose more skin cells and the waste that the mites leave behind can increase this itchiness and can increase the cracked skin causing those with dermatitis to suffer even more than those with just allergies.
Who is Most Affected by Dust Mite Allergies?
Anyone can be affected by dust mite allergies but as with most other allergies, people that are really young or people that are elderly can have more troubles with dust mite allergies than other people.
People that have a family history of allergies might also have more sensitivity to the dust mite allergen than people that do not have that history.
Those that have dry and itchy skin might see more of an impact from dust mites because of their dry skin and the waste that is left by the dust mites.
How Can You Get Rid of Dust Mites?
If you are experiencing allergies from dust mites, it is important that you get rid of the dust mites so that your allergies can become less. The problem of getting rid of dust mites is that they are so small and that there are so many dust mites that getting rid of them all is most likely impossible, but the good news is that you can get rid of some of the dust mites and this might help to keep some of your allergies in check.
In order to get rid of some of the dust mites, you can try some of the following tips:
- Keep the humidity level in your home at less than 50 percent.
- Get rid of things that use fabric such as curtains, throw rugs and throws and replace them with things such as blinds and rubber flooring.
- If you need to use fabric, make sure to purchase fabric that has synthetic fibers.
- Keep fabric, stuffed animals and bedding washed in hot water and dried at high heat as often as possible, at least once a week.
- Try to use wooden floors instead of carpet.
- Dust your home on a regular basis.
- Use an air filter.
- Vacuum your home on a regular basis.
- Keep floors vacuumed and mopped.
- Purchase plastic mattress covers and try to use protectors on your furniture.
The best way to keep the amount of dust mites at a minimum is to make sure that you clean your house on a regular basis. This can decrease the amount of dust mites that you have and can help to keep your allergies at a minimal.
What Kills Dust Mites?
Dust mites are killed by the following:
- Direct sunlight for three or more hours.
- Heat of 70 degrees Celsius for more than 30 minutes.
- Freezing weather.
How Do You Treat Dust Mite Allergies?
When a person has severe dust mite allergies, he or she might need to go to the doctor to make sure that the dust mite is causing the allergies. The doctor can run specific tests to see what exactly is causing the allergic reaction to happen in your body.
If you find out that you have a dust mite allergy, the doctor might give you a specific treatment that can help to lessen the allergies that are caused by the dust mites. Some of these allergy treatments include treatments such as:
- Steroids that can open up the nasal passages.
- Medicines such as decongestants to help lessen respiratory strain.
- Allergy medicines.
- Allergy shots.
There are also some natural treatments that people can try to do on their own at home such as different types of teas and herbs and nasal washes to keep the nasal passages clear of the allergens.
How Do You Know the Difference Between Dust Mites and Bed Bugs?
Even though both dust mites and bed bugs can cause a lot of problems for you, there are many differences between a bed bug and a dust mite that will help you to know what problem you are fighting and help you to make decisions to make your home comfortable for you.
What Do They Look Like?
There is a huge difference between what a dust mite and a bed bug look like. A dust mite can only be seen if you look under a microscope, so if you see something crawling around, it is not a dust mite that you are seeing.
A bed bug on the other hand is much larger and can be seen with the human eye. A bed bug will continue to grow larger as it continues to eat the blood of humans.
Even though dust mites are impossible to see with the naked eye, they are white, unlike bed bugs that are a brown or red like color. Bed bugs also have only six legs, while a dust mite has eight. Bed bugs are flat and long, with an oval like shape.
A bed bug has a long and skinny mouth that is used to stick into the skin and suck the blood of both animals and people. Adult bed bugs look the same as new bed bugs, but they are bigger and they can have a lighter brown or red color than the adult bed bugs.
How Do We Know if It is a Bed Bug?
As we talked about above, we know that dust mites do not bite. A dust mite lives off of the dead skin that has fallen off of both humans and animals. A bed bug on the other hand, eats off of human flesh and they drink the blood of both people and animals. If you are feeling bites, you are experiencing more than just a dust mite and you need to take the next step to get your home bed bug free.
Where Can You Find Dust Mites and Bed Bugs?
Dust mites are found in the carpet, in couch fibers and mostly in dark and high moisture areas. Dust mites live off of the dead skin cells, so they are found in places that have a lot of these skin cells.
Bed bugs live and drink the blood of humans and animals so they are found in areas in the room where they can quickly get to their food source. Most bed bugs can be found in the hidden areas of the mattress and behind the headboards and under tables and in carpet where they can crawl quickly and hide.
Bed bugs can spread quickly and can also be found behind the baseboards and in electrical switches and in furniture that has fabric.
Keeping Your Home Allergy Free
No one wants to live in a home where it is taken over by any type of bug or allergen causing substance. Make sure that you keep your home clean and tidy so that you can keep the dust mite allergens at bay.
By cleaning your home, vacuuming your furniture and carpet and by using an air filter and a humidifier, you can help to lessen the amount of dust mites that you will find in your home.
If you have a problem with strong allergies such as sneezing, shortness of breath, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat or red eyes, then you might need to go to your doctor to see if you have an allergy to dust mites.
Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.