Dust mites don't fly, so how do they trigger my allergies?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

As much time as you spend in your bed, dust mites, the active ingredient in house dust, spend even more. In just two weeks, a new bed can have two million of these tiny critters shacking up in it. Although you can't see these allergens, their feces is a huge cause of itching, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and coughing. 

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Dust mites are microscopic members of the arachnid family that feast on protein products like human and animal dead skin flakes. Huge gatherings of the beasties (a typical used mattress might have anywhere from 100,000 to more than 10 million mites inside of it) will dine all day and all night in carpeting, furniture, and bedding, especially when these hangouts are toasty warm and frequented by human beings.

While these ugly creatures can't fly, their tiny fecal pellets can certainly become airborne; that's the problem for people who are allergy prone. When you ruffle your blankets, change your bedding, fluff your pillow, plop on the bed, sit on the couch, or even stride across your carpet or rug, millions of these microscopic fecal pellets are propelled into the surrounding air and thereby onto the mucous membranes of your nose, eyes, and airway linings, triggering an allergic reaction. And don't think you can avoid the problem by holding your breath. Microscopic mite poop remains airborne for about 20 to 30 minutes before settling.

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