About Dust Mites and Humans Co-existing.
Dust mites, as their name implies, live and thrive in areas where dust collects. They are constant companions wherever human beings dwell and they play an important role in our lives. Dust mites consume some of our waste products like minute particles of organic matter such as human skin flakes and hair cells (dander).
A person sheds about 1.5 grams of skin cells and flakes every day (approximately 0.3–0.45 kg per year), which is enough to feed roughly a million Dust mites. Dust mites are microscopic and a typical Dust mite measures 420 micrometers in length and 250 to 320 micrometers in width.
They survive in all climates, even at altitude and thrive in the indoor environment provided by homes specifically in bedrooms and kitchens. Dust mites survive well in mattresses, carpets, furniture, cushions, draperies, soft toys, mattresses, bedding and pillows with figures of around 188 animals/g dust. Even in dry climates, Dust mites survive and reproduce easily in bedding (especially in pillows) because of the humidity generated by the human body during several hours breathing and perspiring. They reproduce happily all year and any seasonal change in the Dust mite population would be hard to detect.
Dust Mite Allergy
Unfortunately, Dust mites are not just friendly little house cleaners, they are with us all the time and are causing allergies all the time. Dust mites and the highly allergenic particles found in their feaces are a major cause of allergy sensitive conditions and aggravate other allergies not directly caused by Dust mites. Dust mite allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to proteins in the excretion of Dust mites.
Even regular cleaning of bedding, carpets, upholstery, window coverings, floors and walls cannot totally eliminate the presence of Dust mites and they breed at a rapid rate to soon re-populate areas recently cleaned. Asthma is of course, one of the most debilitating diseases occurring in Australian homes and appears to be becoming more prevalent.
Whilst there are multiple causes of Asthma, the inhalation of Dust mite feaces is likely to aggravate the problem. And since Dust mite allergy is not seasonal, unlike many other allergies, constant treatment is necessary especially at springtime when their distressing effects are compounded by seasonal problems such as Hay Fever. The solution is not to kill the Dust mites since they perform a necessary function but to treat them so as to avoid the allergies they create or aggravate.