What Are Bed Mites?

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Exactly what are bed mites?  The term “bed mite” loosely refers to an insect in the Arachnid family called the dust mite.  Because of the name (bed mite), people often confuse them with another insect called the “bed bug”.

It is important to note that dust mites and bed bugs are 2 different species with vastly different intentions.  In this article, we’ll discuss the bed mite (learn the differences between dust mite and bed bug).

Bed mites, a.k.a. the dust mite

Now that we understand the terminology, let’s learn about bed mites.  Bed mites get their name for good reason.  One of their favorite places is in our bed where they silently live in darkness making their home within fabric, utilizing moisture from humans (sweat), and eating our waste…dead skin!

They also live undetected in other household areas like closets, carpets, and couches (especially if you have indoor pets).

Since they can’t be seen with the naked eye, their presence is rarely noticed.  In the majority of homes, bed mites go about their lives eating our waste as a key contributor to the household ecosystem, however more frequently, bed mites are becoming an allergic problem for children and adults.

The mite itself isn’t causing allergies, it’s the protein they carry in their bodies and feces.  Bed mites, and their wast, are so lightweight (18,000 mites in 1 gram) they can become airborne relatively easy and subsequently inhaled.

Inhaling bed mites often occur at night when breathing against pillows, or during the day when ceiling fans and central air and heating are running.

Bed mite allergy symptoms

For most people bed mites are harmless, but for a small and growing population, these mites are a source of allergic reactions.  If sensitized, bed mites can cause respiratory problems like wheezing, sinus congestion and in serious cases, asthma.

Rashes can also develop where the skin is in contact with couches, carpets, and bedding.  In my case, my eczema was exacerbated (not caused) by my allergy to bed mites, and I’d routinely wake up with scratch marks on my arms, eyes, neck, and legs.

Bed mite protection

If you want to improve your sleep hygiene there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.

No. 1  Clean on a regular basis.  This means weekly washing of sheets (learn how to get rid of dust mites by washing bedding).

No. 2  Cover your mattresses, pillows, and blankets with dust mite covers.  These encasings also protect against bed bugs and dirt.

No. 3  Use a high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) vacuum, especially if you have carpets.

No. 4  Allow sunlight and fresh air into your home to avoid dark, humid conditions.

No. 5  Use high quality filters for your central air and heating.

Thanks for reading.

Remember, if you think you might have an allergy visit an allergist and be tested!

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