Waking up with a couple of itchy red dots across your body? It could be that you have some unwanted guests in your bed.
These bed invaders are also known as dust mites, and many people believe that the skin irritation is caused by dust mite bites.
What many believe to be the bite marks of dust mites look like small mosquito bites. In some cases they may even resemble the likes of the good old chicken pocks.
You aren’t actually being bitten by them. Instead, it is an allergic reaction that you are experiencing.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are microscopic animals which were only recently discovered in 1964.
They are relatives of the common spider and are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They love warm and humid conditions – such as those found in your mattress. They are often found in spaces where humans spend a lot of their time, including couches, chairs or carpets.
Their favorite places however are mattresses, toppers and pillows. That’s because we spend at least 30% of our lifetime on them and they just love eating our shed skin. In addition, when we sweat during the night we also create the damp conditions in which they thrive.
There are some bedding products alternatives, however, that minimize (if not eliminate) the existence of dust-mites. Vita Talalay's Natural Latex mattresses are pure natural, hypo-allergenic and dust mite resistant as well as latex toppers and latex pillows.
Are dust mites a type of allergen?
Dust mites are not the allergen themselves. In fact, the dust mite on its own is actually not dangerous to us humans in any way.
It is not known to carry any human diseases or cause infections. In fact, dust mites don’t even bite as we have established earlier.
So, what’s making your skin itch every night?
The real cause for your allergic reaction
The actual allergen are the dust mite droppings and their left over bodies.
Although heavier than pollen, they have just the right size to enter the human respiratory tract. The reaction is due to the stomach enzymes of the dust mite which are still in the droppings.
Your body experiences an inflammatory response by producing proteins known as antibodies to protect you from the dangers of the unwanted invaders.
Especially if you are exposed to the allergen over a longer period of time, a chronic inflammation may set in. In some cases, chronic exposure has also been associated with asthma.
Dust mite allergy symptoms
There are many different symptoms which you may experience depending on numerous factors.
The usual symptoms of a dust mite allergy are caused by an inflammation in your nasal passages.
It starts off with simple sneezing and a runny nose. Some may also experience itchy, red or watery eyes along with nasal congestion, an itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat.
Some have also experienced uncontrollable coughing, and even facial pressure and pain. In very extreme cases, some have also had swollen, blue- colored skin under their eyes.
All these symptoms depend on how your body reacts to the allergen. Some may have less severe ones, such as sneezing or a runny nose. Other bodies may react much more heavily.
This is because it identifies the allergen as being more dangerous. In this case, it overreacts highly and produces much more antibodies to fight off the invader that it needs to.
Dust mite allergy and asthma
A big contributing factor is also whether or not you have asthma, in which case the risk and severity of a reaction is higher.
People with asthma generally experience more severe symptoms. This includes additional difficulty in breathing or even chest tightness and pain. They may even be able to hear a whistling sound while they exhale.
All of these mentioned earlier will also lead to difficulties in sleeping. In turn, this lowers your immune system as well as your body lacks rest, which may lead to a flu or cold.
If any of the above fit to your story, please consult with your doctor.
Dust Mite Allergy Treatment
#1 Types of Medication
The good news here is that over-the-counter medication will help you control your symptoms. If you have a more severe case, you may need to get prescription medication. Consult with your general practitioner about this.
The most common medication used to treat a dust mite allergy are Antihistamines. This will relieve itching, sneezing and watery eyes.
This medication is used by many people who have allergies because it hampers the allergic reaction. In simple terms: it tricks the body into realizing that the allergen is actually not dangerous.
Other medications include Decongestants and Nasal Steroids. Decongestants will help ease and unclog your nose. On the other hand, nasal steroids will help reduce the swelling in your nose. This will allows you to breathe better.
In very severe cases, your general practitioner may also offer immunotherapy. This is when you will get allergy shots and works on the same principle as a vaccination. However, this is only done if you have an allergy over a longer period of time.
Another option would be Odactra. This would be an alternative to the shots. It is an allergen extract which can be taken under the tongue.
It’s essentially the better alternative for those who have a fear of needles! It will also help against nasal and eye irritation caused by the dust mite allergy.
The best thing to do is to talk to your general practitioner. They will know what the best treatment is for you.
Top 4 Dust Mite Allergy Prevention Methods
According to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, around 20% of people suffer from allergies at some time in their lives.
This is why it is very important to minimize your exposure to allergens in general. Let’s take a look at a few ways to get rid of dust mites.
#1 Wash the Wash
First of all, it is important to wash your sheets on a weekly basis by using hot water.
It is recommended to wash with at least 60°C/140°F, but 90°C/194°F is even better! This will make sure that the dust mites will be killed.
In addition, it will also wash away all of the allergens. This includes the droppings, as well as dead dust mite bodies.
If you are unable to wash with hot water, do not worry. You can also choose to use commercial products containing tea tree or eucalyptus oils. They are specially formulated to remove dust mites in cold water.
Another option is also to hot tumble dry the washed sheets. If you do so for 10 minutes, it will also have the same effect.
However, dry cleaning is not as effective, which is why we do not recommend to do so.
#2 Take Cover
Did you know that there are special dust mite covers?
The dust mite covers are specially designed to keep the microscopic animals away from you.
In comparison to normal sheets, they only need to be washed every 2 months. They should also be washed in the same manner as usual sheets (see above).
#3 Fluffy Isn’t Always Good
Have any sheepskin or woollen products in your bedroom? As much as we love the fluffy feeling as well, we’ll have to tell you some bad news here.
They are one of the favourite spots for those pesky critters to nest in and we highly recommend that you get rid of them.
#4 Toy Story
Make sure to remove all soft toys from the bed and bedroom of your kid.
This is especially important if you have kids as they will also be unhappy to know that there are dust mites lurking.
Once again, you take away a place where they can feed and breed.
Here are a few more steps you can take. They apply to both the bedroom and other living spaces:
1. Replace carpets with wooden floors
2. Damp-dust hard surfaces weekly
3. Vacuum clean at least weekly, especially on carpets
4. Make sure that it is not too humid in your living space
5. Replace curtains with blinds
6. Consider having leather or vinyl sofas and chairs instead of cloth
7. Do not sleep in the same room as your pet
An Even Better Way is Vita Talalay
So, why is Vita Talalay great against dust mites?
As mentioned earlier, one of the favourite spots for dust mites is the space you sleep in.
This is because they feed off your dead skin. In addition, your sweat you excrete during the night helps create the damp environment they need.
However, this is not the case with Vita Talalay latex products.
This is because it is so ventilating that it will never create a damp environment. It simply does not give dust mites a chance to thrive, making Vita Talalay latex hypoallergenic.
If you would like to know more about the hypoallergenic properties of Vita Talalay latex, please click here.
In addition, we also recommend you to read this article. It highlights the breathable properties of Vita Talalay latex, and compares it to other comfort materials.
The Bottom Line
Dust mite bites are a myth.
What causes you to have the skin irritations and other symptoms is an allergic reaction.
Dust mites will always be there. The only thing we can do is keep the exposure to a minimum.
One fantastic way to do so is to make sure that you have the right mattress, topper and pillow - Vita Talalay latex is the answer to that.
If you combine that with the above mentioned prevention tips, you and your family will be able to sleep healthy and wake up refreshed.
Also, find out more about the many other benefits of Vita Talalay here.