Dust Mites Are Pretty Gross
A staggering 96% of American homes have dust mites munching their way around our houses feeding on our dead skin cells and dropping off their fecal pellets (poo folks!) as they go. It is actually these fecal pellets that become the allergen trigger. Although you can't see them they are the cause of allergic reactions and asthma.
This is pretty gross – but not knowing about it could give your baby asthma or hay fever, lifelong conditions that are massively disruptive and in the case of asthma, potentially fatal. Dust mites. Probably not something you have spent a lot of time thinking about. I mean, why would you? After all, they are pretty disgusting things. You can’t see them, but if you could, they look pretty, well, disgusting. And what they get up to doesn’t improve things. You see, they love warm, damp places. And because babies sweat, drool, poo and wee this makes the mattress a very popular place for them.
They don’t actually do much. They don’t bite or sting. But they feed on dead skin cells (yuk!) and they poo (more yuk!). And, after about 80 days, they die. One gram of dust can contain 1,000 dust mites and 250,000 allergenic fecal pellets. (Sorry, there is no easy way to say this stuff! And yes, fecal pellets does mean what you think it does). And therein lies the problem. Because it is the dust mite’s fecal pellets that give rise to an allergen that can have a very significant impact on your baby. Because these allergens can be breathed in and sensitize your baby to asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
How Dust Mites can give baby asthma or allergies?
Research shows that the early years, up to age 4, are particularly important in this area because of what is called ‘sensitization’. You don’t just ‘get asthma’ or ‘get hay fever’ and then that’s it, you have it. It’s actually a two-step process. First, you get ‘sensitized’ to asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis). This happens when you inhale a substance which, when breathed in, can trigger an allergic reaction in the respiratory system. This sensitization process does not usually take place immediately, there can be a ‘latency period’ of weeks or more after inhaling the sensitizing substance. However, once the sensitization reaction has taken place, further exposure to the substance, even to the smallest amounts, will produce symptoms. It is at this point that you ‘get’ asthma or hay fever.
One of the primary sensitizers to asthma and hay fever is our friend, the house dust mite. A study of asthma and allergy patients across 15 European countries indicated that the mean level of sensitization to the house dust mite was 22%, suggesting that the house dust mite was responsible for almost a quarter of asthma and hay fever cases.
While other manufacturers use anti dust mite chemicals to treat their mattress fabrics, we see this as rather risky method of dealing with one problem to only then possibly cause another. Babies are much more susceptible to chemicals (even small doses) and that these anti dust mite chemicals could cause possible harm to their health. The safer Pure Zees way is to use a tested and proven simultaneous waterproof & breathable permanent barrier cover that prevents the dust mites from getting into the mattress in the first place. Remember that the allergen triggers come from the dust mite poo rather than the dust mite itself and that the chemicals used by others have no affect on the poo which remains in and on the mattress after the dust mite has gone, and that the dust mites will poo before they die from the chemical.