Do You, or Your Family Members, Suffer from One or More of These Symptoms?
Recent clinical studies indicate that the symptoms listed below prominently appear directly after awakening from an expected good night's sleep, in you're supposedly, comfortable and cozy bed! Dust mites have been known to be associated with allergies since the 1960's and have in recent years become a "focal point" due to their involvement with respiratory ailments. The dust mite by itself is not harmful to humans...
BUT dust mites produce a very potent allergen called "guanine" which is harmful to EVERYONE'S health, to varying degrees. Dust mites live, thrive, and breed, in the micro-habitat (visualize a little eco-system) that we create while sleeping in our beds. They also thrive wherever we spend our leisure time, such as lying on our upholstered sofas or sitting on our upholstered chairs watching television, doing homework, or entertaining. Dust mites do not bite or sting but constant contact with the allergens they produce can trigger respiratory and dermatological complaints in humans. There are other species of dust mites such as the itch mite, as well as predatory mites that share the same dusty environment.
Just some of the symptoms of dust mite allergens (DMA's) include:
- itchy skin (little bumps and rashes),
- stuffy nasal cavities,
- puffy, swollen or discolored eyelids,
- irritated, watery, and reddish eyes,
- "tight" chest,
- head or sinus aches,
- a raspy voice,
- dry, unproductive cough,
- feelings of lethargy (no "get up and go"),
- mental fatigue,
The above symptoms are just the mild, temporary ill-health effects (temporary, if you want to call the first few hours, of each morning of your life...temporary!) associated with household dust, the #1 dominant home indoor air pollutants. But, the long-term ill-health effects are truly much worse and can result in permanent, life-long illnesses such as:
- perennial rhinitis (hay fever),
- sinus infections
and other serious health issues, affecting millions of people. House dust contains a mixture of approximately 28 allergenic components. Typically, dust mite allergens account for the majority of the harmful components of dust, more than any other single particulate.Due to their microscopic size, (the fecal pellets are about 20 microns in size and the ever disintegrating exoskeletons are even much smaller) dust mite allergens can become airborne simply by walking across a room, opening a door, "fluffing" a pillow as you attempt to fall asleep, or rolling over in bed (an act that occurs on average 50 to 60 times per night), and of course, during such activities as bed making. These are just a few of the activities that cause dust mites and their associated allergens to become and remain airborne for up to two hours at a time before settling throughout the entire house. A single dust mite, due to its heavier weight, can remain airborne for fifteen minutes. This negates the effectiveness of costly dust mite-proof mattress covers and bedding which attempts to solve the problem by simply "covering up" or placing a "band-aid" over the problem as the dust and allergens that are not inhaled, simply continue to "float about" the indoor air and accumulate on your bedding, as well as everywhere else.
While airborne, the allergens are easily inhaled and become attached to the living cells that line the "walls" of your lungs. Once attached, they suffocate and kill your healthy lung cells causing permanent damage. Dust mites practice coprophagia, meaning, in lean times they will use their own fecal pellets as a food source. Dust mite fecal pellets, which contain "guanine" and their digestive enzymes, are a major cause of allergies across the world. The powerful enzymes in the fecal pellets break down hard-to-digest food for later nourishment. It is these enzymes that cause and trigger allergies in humans by breaking down delicate living tissue including healthy lung cells.
Dust mites are living, thriving, and breeding by the millions, in your mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, draperies, fluffy stuffed toys, and to a lesser extent (only because, hopefully, it is frequently vacuumed) carpeting. Pillows, alone, may gain 15-25% in weight over a two year span, from the accumulation of dust mite allergens and a host of other contaminants.
Children, especially those who breathe rapidly such as newborns and those up to 5 years of age, are particularly susceptible to the health hazards from inhaling the allergens (especially the potent allergen "guanine") found in the fecal matter, secretions, shed (molted) skins, and the exoskeletons of dead dust mites. The elderly, chronically ill persons, and persons with a weak immune system (even if just temporary) are also very susceptible to ill-health effects of dust mite allergens and poor indoor air quality.
Dust mites are nocturnal, dislike strong light and will take refuge in the seams, ledges, cording and framework of furniture when exposed to light. A single dust mite can produce up to 20 to 30 fecal pellets per day (therefore, an average-sized colony of 2 million dust mites living within a mattress will produce 40 to 60 million fecal pellets per day). A single dust mite produces approximately 2000 to 3000 fecal pellets during its active lifetime of up to 3 or 4 months (that equates to a total of 4 trillion fecal pellets, in your mattress, produced by a single generation of an average-sized dust mite colony). Your unhygienic mattress, where you spend 1/3 of your life, is the nastiest, grungiest, item in your home and contains huge amounts of dead skin, dust mites, dust mite allergens, molds, mildew, pollens (transported inside from outdoors), spores, pet dander, bacteria and viruses.
Have you noticed how many corporations are touting their products for addressing the problem caused by dust mites? However, the solutions they offer are simply more "band-aids" to the problem and do not confront the problem (source) "head-on", the micro-habitats found in mattresses, pillows, and the "soft furnishings" in our homes. Should you choose to go the dust mite-proof mattress pad route, ask the salesperson what they sell to "protect" you from the dust mites in your upholstered sofa and chairs?
Mattress covers, pharmcotherapy (medications), and immunotherapy (skin prick tests, more testing and more meds) have been the usual methods of addressing the symptomatic problems and each of these methods generate huge sums of income. However, this is akin to placing a "band-aid" over a festering wound and then selling you more "band-aids". Perhaps the huge multi-billion dollar revenues generated by the aforementioned industries, is the reason why American's have not been properly informed and educated. But now, and unfortunately due to the annual increases in asthma, asthma deaths (especially among children), allergenic rhinitis, and other respiratory illnesses, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated a public awareness campaign through public service announcements (PSA's) and their new website (www.noattacks.org) beginning in January 2007.
Should you or any of your family members exhibit any of the aforementioned symptoms, please seek the advice of your family physician, especially if the symptoms are evident among children.
By Tom Hefter