A FOLLOWER’S QUESTION ABOUT DUST MITES AND THE DEFENCE AGAINST THEM

We have received the following very important question on Facebook from one of our followers – Erzsébet: Greetings, Is there a possibility to eliminate dust mites? Or anything that could reduce the amount of dust?

2020. október 19.

Dear Erzsébet, Thank you for writing to us! This might be long, but I will try to keep it short and sweet.

Dust mites are parasites, you could say they are the fleas of the carpet. Normally, they don’t cause any problems, but in large numbers, they excrements can have irritating effects, typically in small children, which presents mainly as cronic lower respiratory tract diseases, namely asthma.

Treatment

‘Treating’ dust mites is not easy, but the problem can be approached from several angles: 1. physical treatment, 2. chemical treatment, 3. elimination of habitat.

1. Typically, this means using the vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming regularly, about 2 to 3 times a day with a strong vacuum cleaner can significantly improve the dust mite problem. It is important to use a rather powerful vacuum, which is also equipped with a modern filtration system. Unfortunately, this narrows down the possibilities to the more expensive vacuum cleaners out there.

2. Chemical treatment means reducing the dust mites’ numbers using chemicals. I will be completely honest, I cannot name any such chemicals off the top of my head, because I prefer the physical solution. But if I search the words ‘dust mite treatment products’ online, I can get several results. Let’s not forget that dust mites eliminated with chemicals must also be vacuumed up. Another thing is that each mite evolves through transformation, they may be present in the rug in various stages of development. They react differently to the chemicals, depending on their development stage.

3. Elimination of habitat I, myself have had asthma since I was a child. At home, we simply threw out the carpets and switched to PVC. Since dust mites eat fungi and pieces of fallen skin cells and carpets/rugs are great at collecting them, getting rid of the carpet or rug means significantly reducing the dust mites’ habitat, almost eliminating it, in fact.

Prevention

It’s worth getting rid of carpets and rugs, wearing slippers while walking, as well as not letting pets on them. Since there is a trend developing, that carpets cause only problems, I think we can both agree in the long run replacing them is the simplest, safest, most durable and most economical solution.

Examples

A) I have carpets and I have a cat in the apartment. I also have 2 small children. – You should get rid of your carpets as soon as you can. You can leave the street map rug, but vacuum it regularly, and also use chemical treatment from time to time.

B) I only have a carpet in the living room, which I don’t want to remove. I also have a child and a pet. – Vacuum it up to two times a week with a high-quality, strong vacuum cleaner – which is a rather expensive solution –, and don’t forget to regularly replace its filters, as well. I would also use some kind of chemical treatment on the carpet once every six months.

C) I have a rug here and there in my apartment, I have no cats, but I do have a child. – Moveable rugs should be washed every spring, as soon as the weather allows. Similarly, you should also give them a good wash on one of the last warm days of autumn (this letter is being written on Friday, the 2nd of October 2020, and according to the prognoses, the weekend could be as warm as 28 °C). Try to use carpets with short fibres, since they are easier to clean. In addition, a routine vacuuming once a week may be enough to keep them clean.

D) I have no rugs, I have a child, and I also have a pet. – In this case, it’s worth considering a robot vacuum, which goes around the rooms every day. Vacuum the dust from corners and places the robot vacuum cannot reach once a week: corners, under cupboards and beds.

Additional advice

Don’t forget couches, chairs and mattresses either. Use chemicals to remove the dust mites from time to time, then vacuum them thoroughly after drying. If you have a child with asthma in your household, regularly vacuum places where you sit and sleep, as well.

Best regards:

Dávid Hegyi
epidemiologist
BONUS Kft.

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