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Dust Mites

Where are dust mite found?

Dust Mites are microscopic organisms that hide:

  • Under our beds
  • Inside and on sofas
  • Inside and on carpets
  • Inside and on stuffed toys
  • Inside and on our mattresses, boxsprings and pillows

Most Common in Humid Climates

Dust mites are most common in humid climates and they do not survive when the humidity is below 50%. Unlike pollen, dust mites are present all year round causing constant allergy symptoms.

Prefer Dark, Warm and Humid Places Like Bedrooms

Dust mites prefer to be in dark, warm and humid places with plenty of available food. The bedroom naturally becomes their favorite place, and since the average person spends one-third of their day in the bedroom, we inhale large quantities of dust mites.

What do dust mites eat?

Dust Mites are creatures that spend their lives eating, reproducing and eliminating waste products. They feed on the tiny flakes of human skin that shed from our bodies each day.

Each mite produces about 20 waste particles each day and more than 100,000 of them may be present in a single gram of dust. The particles seen floating in a shaft of sunlight include dead dust mites and their waste products.

What is an allergic reaction to dust mites?

A mattress may contain over a million dust mites. It is a protein in the waste products from the dust mite that make us wheeze and itch. Lie on a rug where they live and you may get an irritating rash. Breathe them in and you may experience nasal congestion or difficulty breathing.

Contact Information

Allergy and Inflammation - Research
Department of Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Center for Life Science, 9th floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215