Dust mites are only about 100 microns long (0.1 mm), far too small to be seen by the naked eye. They are eight legged creates related to spiders and ticks. Their feet have sticky pads that help them burrow deep into mattresses, stuffed furniture, and carpets. They live primarily on shed human skin, pet dander, and pollen. Since they get their moisture from the air, they thrive best at humidity levels of 70-80% and will die at humidity levels below 40-50%.
Each egg-laying female can increase the population by about 30 mites every 3 weeks. They grow from egg to adult in only one month and live about 2-3 months. Under ideal conditions, a single egg-laying female dust mite can spawn a population of over a million dust mites in less than 1 year!
If you wake up congested, feeling itchy, or suffering from migraines, aches or other allergy related symptoms, there is a very good chance you have dust mite allergies. If you have other known allergies, the probability jumps even higher. It is estimated that 80-90% of people who have any kind of allergy are also allergic to dust mites.
Your doctor or allergist can test you for dust mite allergies. Or you can test yourself in the comfort and privacy of your home with the My Allergy Test. You can also simply follow the suggestions below and see if your symptoms improve.