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Dust Mites and Asthma

Ah, the almighty dust mite. It used to be thought that although dust mites, indeed, do look creepy crawly and pretty scary when you look at them up close (you must magnify them to look at them, as they are microscopic insects), that they were relatively harmless.

Ah, the almighty dust mite. It used to be thought that although dust mites, indeed, do look creepy crawly and pretty scary when you look at them up close (you must magnify them to look at them, as they are microscopic insects), that they were relatively harmless.

Now, however, we know that this is not the case. Unfortunately, there's little you can do about dust mites. They're here, and they're here to stay. However, you can do things that will help you manage them, if not completely eradicate them.

In a normal mattress, there are literally thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of dust mites in it. The same holds true for your pillows. Now, you can't see them, because as stated above, they are microscopic. There are hundreds of them in a speck of dust. Nonetheless, although they are tiny, they can cause havoc for you, especially if you have asthma or other allergies.

Simply put, dust mites have a protein in their waste that can trigger an asthma attack. And, guess what? They can produce 200 times their body weight in waste. That's a lot of dust mite waste to be breathing in, and it can help your asthma symptoms a lot to minimize it.

Although dust mites are in every room in your house, they are particularly popular in the bedroom.

They seem to like mattresses and pillows especially, for example. Dust mites live off the dust in your house (which is how they got their name "dust mite"), and by and large, they like the dust in your house. And dust is composed of, what? Dead skin cells. Yes, you guessed it, dead skin cells that we shed every day just going through the course of our daily lives. Perhaps you didn't know that not only do you shed skin cells when you're in the shower trying to exfoliate, but you also shed skin cells simply by brushing your hand against your shirt, for example, or pulling on a pair of slacks. The simple act of touching skin sloughs off tiny microscopic particles of skin, and this is the kind of thing dust mites like.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to eliminate dust mites completely.

It simply can't be done. However, you can do your part to greatly minimize them in your house. Certainly, you can cut them down enough so that you can live with your allergy and/or asthma symptoms and so that dust mites don't bother you.

First of all, you can go a long way toward eliminating allergy and/or asthma symptoms, especially at night, by buying yourself an anti-mite dust cover for both your mattress and pillows. Most department stores now carry these, and you can also find them online. Not only do they protect the mattress and/or pillows from being infested by dust mites, but they will protect you from any dust mites that are already there.

Second of all, do the best you can to keep your house very clean. This is not to say sterile, however. It is greatly touted, now, that antibacterial cleaners and our rabid need to have our homes "sterile" are among the main reasons that we are developing asthma at greater and greater rates.

We simply don't develop our immunities to the point that we used to, because we don't live around enough dirt, simply put. In addition, children don't play outside the way they used to, and so, they aren't exposed to dirt, as they were then, to build up the proper immunities. Therefore, although you must keep your house clean, you should not keep it sterile.

A big factor in allergies, though, is dust in the house, and this you can do your best to keep to a minimum without having to do the antibacterial scourge. To do this, simply use a damp cloth to dust, making sure that you pick up dust instead of simply scattering it around, as a feather duster would.

Third of all, make sure you wash your bedding weekly. Use hot water when you do so. If a great deal of the clothes your closet tend to hang for long periods of time without being worn, you might want to consider using dust mite covers for them as well, including your bedding and pillows. Finally, you should either have no carpeting in your house or a very good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. You can also wear a facemask when you vacuum if vacuuming causes allergies or an asthma attack for you.

Although dust mites are bother, they can be a nuisance instead of a hazard with these simple steps. You may even find once you've taken steps to control them that dust mites are a major cause of your asthma attacks and that controlling them will greatly ease your symptoms.

Gaetane Ross is a Certified Natural Health Consultant who has spent over 4 years focusing on Nutrition and Health. She also specializes in Alternative Medicine, Spiritual Healing and Healthy Lifestyle. Gaetane's mission is to positively transform the lives of everyone she meets by providing advice on Healthy Living.

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