Mighty dust mite

Following up on my dust mite lament from the other day, I’ve been doing some research about what dust mites are and how they may be combated. The dust mite is a tiny member of the arachnid family that has flourished in modern, Western, living environments. It’s very small, about 100 microns across, and it lives in fibrous surfaces such as bedding, carpets, drapes, sofas, clothes, etc. It eats dead skin cells from us humans and dander from our pets.

The idea of these tiny things living in your bed or carpet is disgusting, but they are nothing to worry about unless you are demonstrably allergic to them or have asthma. Most of the scientific articles I’ve reviewed suggest that dust mite abatement is moderately effective in reducing allergic or asthmatic symptoms in people who have them (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, but see also 6 for a contrary finding), but that it has no benefit to people who do not have such symptoms. So don’t waste your money fighting these critters if you don’t have to!

Posted on April 14th, 2008 by Katxena