Indoor Allergens - Dust Mites at Home

How do you control dust mites in your house? Do you clean frequently?

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What are dust mites?

Dust mites, which were discovered in 1964, are microscopic arachnids (resembling tiny spiders). They are about 1/3 mm in length and are not visible to the naked eye. They have eight legs, are blind, and naturally live indoors. Their presence does not indicate that the house is dirty. This is because usual cleaning procedures, such as vacuuming and dusting, do not eliminate them.

Dust mites have "sticky" pads at the ends of their legs that help them to firmly attach to fibers, which allow them to live deep within carpeting, upholstery, and mattresses. Most of the mites found in houses are from the Dermatophagoides family, with pteronyssinus and farinae being the most common species. (Dermatophagoides comes from Latin and means skin-eating. Pteronyssinus comes from Latin and means feather-loving. Farinae is Latin for flour.) Fortunately, dust mites do not bite, spread disease, or actually live on humans.

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