Research out of the UK finds common household dust mites may be a factor in as many as 80 percent of asthmas, hay fevers and other allergic ailments. Along with respiratory symptoms, high levels of dust mite allergens have also been correlated with atopic dermatitis (AD), characterized by itchy, irritated skin.
Dust mite allergens are considered one of the most potent allergens in household dust. Their body parts and fecal excreta are initially 10 to 50 mm in diameter but break down into smaller fragments that become airborne when dust is disturbed. According to one study, more than half the weight of mite allergens within a home was found to be less than 5 mm in length. Because of their small size, fecal material is the primary health concern due to the fact that they can be inhaled into the lower airways of the lungs.
Dust mites are microscopic hardy creatures that live and multiply easily in warm, humid places. They thrive at temperatures at or above 70 degrees with a relative humidity of 75 percent to 80 percent. They die when the humidity falls below 50 percent. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), to reduce dust mites, it is important to keep humidity below 50 percent throughout the home.
It has been proven that there is a dramatic reduction in dust mite population when humidity is controlled in the home, but many people struggle with finding a dehumidifier that can accomplish this. The most effective and efficient solution is to use a quality, high capacity dehumidifier that controls humidity levels throughout the entire home.
Santa Fe dehumidifiers feature a large moisture removal coil, regenerative heat exchanger and high capacity fan, which allow the units to remove 2-3 times more moisture per kilowatt of electricity than a conventional dehumidifier. All units come with at least a MERV 8 filter, and most come standard with MERV 11 filtration capabilities. Santa Fe freestanding residential units are built with the same components as the company’s commercial units and as a result are able to remove up to four times more water than the units available at home improvement stores. All Santa Fe dehumidifiers are ENERGY STAR® rated.
AAAAI also recommends these solutions to control dust mites:
- Removing wall-to-wall carpeting
- Encasing mattresses, box springs and pillows
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130°F)
- Use a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum
- The National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing, an NIEHS study, discovered that 84.2 percent of U.S. homes had detectable dust mite allergen in their beds.
- The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that as many as 90 percent of people with allergic asthma are sensitive to dust mites, and at least 45 percent of young people with asthma are allergic to dust mites