Roughly twenty million adults living in the United States have an allergy to dust mites. However, it doesn’t begin with dust mites, it begins with dust. But what is dust? Where does it come from? How does it make the perfect living conditions for dust mites to exacerbate allergies? We are going to discuss where dust comes from, what dust is made of, and how these little creatures can so easily live with us in the millions.
Where does dust come from? What is dust?
The answer to where dust comes from is short and sweet: everywhere. Technically, the answer is indoors and outdoors, but since everywhere is either indoors or outdoors, we simplified it down to everywhere. That leaves the door wide open to what dust can be made of.
Here is a list of particles that can be found in dust (there are more, but these are the most common):
- Dead skin cells: There is a common misconception that the dust indoors is comprised of mostly dead skin cells shed by humans. However, most of the skin cells we shed (roughly 80%) get washed down the drain when we bathe or shave.
- Pet dander: What is dander? Dander doesn’t solely come from pets; it can come from humans too. Dander is the materials shed from the bodies of humans and animals that have fur, hair, or feathers.
- Soil, sand, rock, and pollution: This is what most dust is made of. While this doesn’t occur naturally indoors, it can be easily tracked inside on clothing, shoes, animals, and through the air by opening doors and windows.
- Pollen, microscopic organisms, and plant material: Think dander, but for plants. Plus bacteria, viruses, insect follicles or parts, and other tiny organisms like dust mites.
- Textile and paper fibers: Your clothes, carpets, curtains, and upholstery shed too, adding to the dust.
As you can see, dust particle size can vary greatly. From completely invisible (PM1 or less than 0.001 mm thick) to visible where you can see it floating in a sun stream (PM10 or less than 0.01 mm thick). PM stands for particulate matter and it’s a measurement used to discuss how small a particle is. The smaller the particulate, the longer it can stay in the air and the further it can travel.
Dust Mites’ Heaven
While you may find all the items that can be found in dust quite disgusting, the little creatures that live there don’t think so! Dust mites live and breed in dust bunnies or where dust accumulates, like on furniture, curtains, pillows, beds, clothes, literally anywhere there is dust. In fact, did you know, you could sustain a colony of a million dust mites just with the skin you shed in one day alone?
There is some good news; dust mites are not considered parasites. They are microscopic arachnids that don’t bite, scratch, sting, or burrow. They are so microscopic, that they can live on top of a shed skin cell. Skin cells are their source of food and nutrition. Those who have allergies to dust mites actually have allergies to what they leave behind. Because dust mites live in dust, they do all their business in dust (yes, we are talking about poop). You can learn all about dust mites here.
The Effects on Human Health
Dust and dust mites do have some effects on human health, especially for those who are already at risk, like the young, elderly, or those with allergies or asthma. First, small particulate dust can make its way into our blood stream. While our noses are designed to help filter out the larger particles, there are small enough particles that can make it all the way into our lungs, tissue lining, and blood. This can cause coughing, wheezing, and other discomforts. The health effects of dust are usually determined by the type of dust, how long you have been exposed, and how much dust is in the air.
This is why we invented the Dust Bender. Our creator’s wife, Gaby, spent years living with debilitating symptoms and migraines due to a dust mite allergy. They were dusting their home at least once per day, which can take a ton of time. They knew something could be done to make the work easier and more effective. Thus, the Dust Bender was born. The Dust Bender helps you keep your space clean and dust free by simply attaching to the hose on your vacuum. If you’re as freaked out by dust as we are (feeling a little queasy writing this if I’m being honest) then it’s time to pick up a Dust Bender! Protect yourself and your family today.