Dust Mites

The issue of dust mites is frequently discussed, because these little creatures live in a tight relationship with humans and have an important (negative) impact on our health. Dust mites are small animals invisible to our eyes belonging among the arthropods. They are closely related to spiders and ticks. They behave like parasites and they feed by small remains of the skin and dandruff. Their presence is particularly negative because of allergies.


Dust mites love warm (20-30°C) and humid environment and they usually live in bedclothes. It is ideal by the right temperature and humidity and long-term human presence. Average human sleeps 7 hours a day and every morning, he or she leaves in the bed many microscopic particles (flaked skin, hair, etc.) making a royal feast for the dust mites. In addition, the dust mites live in other textiles such as the carpets, plush toys, etc. Huge quantities of mites are located in the dust particles.


Dust mites come into close contact with our skin and they may be easily inhaled as a part of dust particles. Unfortunately, the dust mites act as strong allergen for a number of people causing various forms of allergic reactions. The most common are allergic skin disorders (atopic eczema) and respiratory symptoms (allergic rhinitis, asthma).


Mites do not tolerate high and low temperature. Adequate hygiene, daily making the bed and occasional hanging the blankets out to let the sun shine on them are great methods how to decrease the number of dust mites. Plush toys can be occasionally put into the refrigerator where the dust mites are destroyed by low temperatures. There are special textiles impermeable for the mites that are also easily washable. Frequent washing at temperatures above 60°C reduces the numbers of parasites to a minimum.


Prevention is the best approach. In case of occurrence of allergic symptoms, we used classic anti-allergic medications, especially the antihistaminic drugs.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Contact: jiri.stefanek@seznam.cz
 Sources: basic text sources