When we think about indoor air quality, pollution generally comes to mind. You may imagine that your home’s air quality is poor if you use too many household cleaners or have an old fireplace. And while many sources of indoor air pollutants are clear, allergy symptoms and other health issues can be caused by factors were unable to see as well.
Every American has millions of roommates in the form of dust mites. These tiny bugs are harmless, living in our furniture and feeding on dead skin. Unlucky Americans have roommates in the form of bedbugs, which feed on our blood during sleep. Both types of bugs, however, leave behind waste matter that builds up over time. This eventually mixes with the air, lowering overall indoor air quality.
Avoiding the health impacts of this waste can be difficult. Dust mites and bed bugs are prevalent, difficult to get rid of, and determined to make your life difficult! One of the best ways to address allergy symptoms and indoor air quality is to invest in a home air purifier. Read on to find out exactly how dust mites and bed bugs impact air quality, and what you can do about it.
Dust Mites or Bed Bugs?
Scientists estimate that anywhere from fifteen to twenty percent of people have a dust mite allergy. These tiny bugs are close relatives of spiders and ticks but are impossible to see with the naked eye. The average dust mite can live anywhere from four to ten weeks, with eggs taking roughly four weeks to reach maturity.
Dust mites rely on dead skin, or dander, from human and animals to survive. As a result, they tend to live in fabric, concentrating in our beds, furniture, and clothing. The average mattresses can contain anywhere from 100,000 to ten million dust mites, meaning that your home is full of dust mites and their feces. Try not to let it keep you up at night!
While they pose no direct harm, their waste matter can be an irritating allergen. Over the one to a two-month course of one dust mite’s life, it will produce hundreds of pieces of feces. Furthermore, dust mites shed their skins as they grow, leaving them behind alongside their waste. These waste products eventually build up, ultimately lowering indoor air quality and causing the allergy symptoms we’ve come to dread.
Common symptoms of a dust mite allergy mirror most other allergies. You’ll face respiratory issues like sneezing, runny/stuffy nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, and asthma flare-ups. Furthermore, some individuals will experience skin reactions including eczema responses. And while rashes and hives are rare, they can occur.
At this time, there are no pesticides on the market designed to eliminate dust mites. At the end of the day, they’re simply a part of home life we’ll have to accept. Eliminating the dust mites also wouldn’t eliminate the millions of shed shells and fecal matter left behind, which are the true culprits causing allergies. To truly address low indoor air quality as the result of dust mites, you have to regularly filter the air and eliminate their waste products.
Bed bugs are extremely small, brown insects that feed on human and animal blood to survive. The adults are roughly the size of a tack, while their eggs can be smaller than a grain of rice. Each female can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime. Each egg takes less than a month to reach full maturity. As bed bugs grow, they can shed their shells up to five times.
Bed bugs can enter your home directly from outside, but most often come undetected on suitcases, clothing, and used furniture. They’re roughly as wide as a credit card is thin, meaning bed bugs can easily hide in small crevices waiting for a chance to feed. You’re most likely to find them in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and couches. These bugs spread across rooms and houses very easily.
Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eliminate, as they are tiny and lay countless, nearly invisible eggs. Common methods to kill off the bugs include spraying with pesticides and using space heaters to drive the bugs out. And while these methods will eliminate the threat of the bugs biting your skin, they fail to address the shed skin and feces that mingle with the air, ultimately lowering air quality and causing allergy symptoms.
How Do I Get Rid of Dust Mites and Bed Bugs?
You’ll never get rid of dust mites unless you opt to live in a plastic bubble. They live in all fabric, making them next to impossible to escape. As far as the actual bugs are concerned, you can limit their presence in your home. Opting for wood and ceramic furniture over fabric-covered options will give them fewer places to live. However, they will continue to live on in your clothing and bedding, often being tracked in from school, work, and friends’ homes.
Bed bugs, however, are not normal. They are a pest that moves into your house and acts as a parasite. If you believe your home is infested with bed bugs, your best bet is to call an expert. In addition to laundering all of your clothing, your home likely needs to be sprayed with pesticides, filled with space heaters and left to sit for a few days.
However, there’s something much more important than simply getting rid of dust mites and bed bugs. While the bugs themselves may be scary, they leave behind fecal matter and shed shells. These waste products greatly impact air quality. They mix with the indoor air you breathe, causing everything from minor allergic reactions to asthma attacks and lung disease.
To avoid the impact of these waste products on indoor air quality, invest in an indoor home air purifier. The right purifier can remove particulate matter from the air, including dust, shed shells, and fecal matter. Actively working to manage the presence of these particles indoors allows you to combat their impact on your allergies. It’s a simple fix, but one that can save you a lot of suffering.