Revenge
of the
Dust Mites!

 

 

 

 

Related Stories:

Allergies Blamed on Dust Mites and Roaches!

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) MAY 09, 2000 — Droppings left on pillows and bedding by dust mites and cockroaches may be triggering more asthma and allergy attacks than previously realized.

Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park surveyed a sample of homes around the country and vacuumed dust from their beds.

They found that certain proteins from dust mites — microscopic arachnids that thrive in humid places and feed on human skin flakes — are present in large enough quantities to cause allergies in more than 45 percent of U.S. households.

In an estimated 23 percent of American homes, the level of dust mite allergens is high enough to trigger asthma attacks, the researchers said. That number, which represents about 22 million homes, shocked environmental health researchers.

Dr. Darryl Zeldin, head of clinical studies at NIEHS, said he had thought the number would be closer to 10 percent.

"Twenty-three percent. Nobody would have guessed that,'' Zeldin said. "Our beds are teeming with dust mite allergens.''

The allergenic droppings of cockroaches were detected in 6 percent of bedding.

Dust allergies can cause congestion, headaches and sore throats, and asthma has left an estimated 17 million Americans wheezing.

The researchers' findings, to be presented Wednesday to the American Lung Association/American Thoracic Society conference in Toronto, were part of the First National Allergen Survey, a three-year, government-funded $1 million effort based on a sample of 831 homes across the nation.

From July 1998 to December 1999, technicians went to each home with a hand-held vacuum cleaner equipped with a special dust-collecting filter. They vacuumed the main sleeping pillow and all layers of bedding, down to the top surface of the mattress, said Patrick Vojta, an NIEHS clinical studies coordinator.

More on Mites and Roaches:

Acari - The Mites

Mites That Bug People

All About Cockroaches

The Compleat Cockroach

University of Nebraska Cockroach Picture Gallery

Cockroaches, Slugs and Snails Feel Pain!

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - New studies showing that slugs, snails and cockroaches suffer pain may prompt humans to tiptoe around the animal kingdom. The research, the subject of a meeting on Thursday organised by the British charity Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, delivers a boost to lobby groups who argue that animals have emotions.

"People who think insects do not feel any pain may be wrong," Dr Stephen Wickens of the charity told the Daily Telegraph newspaper. "Perhaps people should think twice before reaching for the fly spray."

Dr Chris Sherwin of the University of Bristol said insects react much like cats and dogs in their aversion to electric shocks.

"If it is a chimp we say it feels pain, if a fly we do not. Why?" Sherwin said.

Studies carried out at Cambridge University discovered that cows can react emotionally. Another study revealed that sheep, in defiance of their dumb image, can distinguish one person from another.

Save Yourself From The Dust Mites!

Good Advice from the American Academy of Family Physicians

What are dust mites? Why are they important?

Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in your house. They measure about 1/100th of an inch in length, smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. They are a major cause of allergies and asthma. When some children are exposed to dust mites, they get asthma. If children already have asthma, dust mites make them wheeze more and use more asthma medicine. So, cutting down the number of dust mites in the home is an important step if your child has allergies or asthma.
 
Dust mites love warm, humid areas filled with dust. Bed pillows, mattresses, carpets and furniture are great places for them to live. Cleaning each one of these places can make a real difference in the number of dust mites in your house.

What do I do first?
 

Start in the bedroom. Most of the dust mites in your house live in your mattress. Put an airtight plastic or polyurethane cover over your mattress. Wash your sheets and blankets in very hot water every two weeks. Wash your pillow every week or put a plastic cover on it. (The pillowcase goes over the plastic cover.)
 
Your bedroom should have hard-wood, tile or linoleum floor. These surfaces are easier to keep clean than carpet. If you have to have carpet, try not to place the carpet on concrete. The warm space between a rug and concrete is a good place for mites to live.

I don't want to rip out my carpet. Is there anything I can do to treat it?
 

You can spray the rug with a solution of 3% tannic acid every two months to kill the dust mites. Ask your doctor if this solution will be helpful for you. Your doctor can make recommendations about the use of this solution. He or she can let you know how to apply the solution and how to obtain it. However, a better approach may be to completely remove your carpet.

What else can I do?
 

Vacuuming your carpets and upholstery every week can help. Vacuums with high-efficiency filters pick up more dust mites, but even standard vacuums work well enough. Use of special furniture that has a polyurethane cover over the matting is another good step. Plastic or wooden furniture that doesn't have much padding can also help keep down the number of dust mites in your home. Because dust mites love warm, humid places, running your air conditioner and keeping the humidity low makes a difference. Don't bother with special air filters--they won't help children with asthma or allergies.
 
This information provides a general overview on dust mites and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


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