One fine afternoon while sitting on a sofa, a person might sneeze suddenly, followed by a stuffy nose and fever-like symptoms. One may think he is coming down with the flu, but it may just be a dust mite allergy.
Allergies are the response of the body’s immune system – a reaction in which the immune system reacts abnormally to certain substances, usually releasing a flood of body hormones known as histamine that causes sneezes and fevers.
Allergens can be many, and dust mites are one of them, a particular obnoxious type of allergen found in almost all homes. Generally, they are more predominant in warm and semi-humid or humid conditions. Usually, getting rid of them can be a nightmare. However, a visit to protechallergies.com can be helpful for getting a range of options useful to get rid of dust mites.
What Are Allergens?
Allergens are substances that trigger an allergic reaction from the body’s immune system. The allergens can be anything. It can be something that people inhale, such as pollen or certain perfumes. These may be present in foods like lobsters, prawns, peanut butter, milk, and milk products that people eat, or even ticks and mites can act as allergens.
A doctor usually prescribes what is known as a scratch test to detect allergies. This involves exposing the body to limited quantities of allergens to see whether it gives an allergic reaction or not.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are tiny insects so small that they are not visible to the naked eye. At times, they can be as small as 10 microns in diameter. However, most of them are about a quarter of a millimeter long. They appear whitish with numerous tiny legs when seen under a microscope.
They have some characteristics that make them extremely difficult to eradicate. Other than their small size, they have protective cuticles (hard waxy covering) on their bodies, and then they get an abundant supply of food in the household in the form of dead skin flakes of humans and pets which helps them thrive in the household settings.
How Does One Know If Their House Is Infested By Dust Mites or not?
So, the million-dollar question is, in what ways can one figure out if their house has dust mites.
They may be found anywhere in the house on the furniture, carpets, rugs, stuffed toys, curtains, and even clothes. Most of the houses have some amount of these creatures, and some of the ways to know are as follows
Observing Under A microscope
A very scientific way of spotting these tiny insects is to collect some dust samples and then observe them by directly placing them under a microscope and directly observing them.
One has to collect dust from the floor, shelf, etc. and put them on a glass slide and then observe it under a microscope lens power with a minimum of 10x magnification. The tiny insects can be seen crawling around bodies with long hairs protruding out from the side and covered with short hair.
However, this method has a limitation. It is meant only for the experts. A common man may have never seen what a dust mite looks like or what a microscope looks like.
Using Detection Kits
Unlike observing under a microscope which requires expert knowledge this method can be used even by the commoner. Several companies have come out with kits that have bottled-up chemicals and brushes that help one detect a mite.
Usually, these chemicals undergo a chemical reaction when combined with components of the allergen which are usually protein compounds to produce a color reaction. These color reactions are indicative like they turn a certain color for the presence of some compounds and another color for the absence of some.
The test is very simple to perform. One has to put some dust in a bag containing reagents and shake it well. Then a few drops are put on a reagent-coated strip at a marked point. The strip has two lines marked T (for the test) and C (for control). If dust mites are present, the T-marked line becomes pink. The darker the pink color, the higher the level of the allergens.
Getting The Symptoms Itself
One not-so-pleasant way of figuring out the presence of allergens is to have an allergic reaction. A person who has an allergic reaction shows a plethora of reactions starting from a cough, a sneeze, and red and itchy eyes to nasty eczema or a scary asthma attack.
When a person with such an allergic reaction visits a doctor, the doctor usually prescribes a skin test or a blood test to detect the presence of the allergen. In such a case, one’s own body acts as a tester for the dust mites.
Why Is It Important To Detect Dust Mites In The House
Ridding the house of dust mites is crucial from the point of view of health and hygiene. People like to keep their homes neat and clean and undertake regular pest control measures to free their houses of insects such as spiders, cockroaches, mites, termites, and lizards.
Allergies can be a well-known health hazard. An allergic reaction might last two to three days for most healthy adults and will subside after taking a few antihistamine pills.
However, not everybody is that fortunate. People who have kids and older adults need to be extra careful. Many people are more vulnerable to allergic reactions like those having pre conditions like asthma or bronchitis. In these cases, a simple allergic reaction can also turn fatal.
Dust mites are nasty allergens and are a regular source of irritants for most households. To tackle the challenge of dust mites, the experts and companies use a battery of measures.
These measures consist of humidifiers and air purifiers containing HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing) filters attached to them, dust mite-resistant sheets, covers, and hand-held vacuum cleaners to clear houses and keep them allergen-free.
These measures are of varying degrees of efficiency. For example, a small bed generally is covered with millions of particles of dust mite droppings. By covering the bed with a proper dust mite-resistant cover, the aerosol-like movement of these droppings gets reduced to a great extent.