house dust mite
Last reviewed 01/2018
The house dust mite Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus is an important organism, not because it is a direct pathogen but because of the allergenicity of its faeces.
- hypersensitivity of individuals to the faeces can cause asthma
- the mites live off human skin scales
- found in bedding, furniture, carpets and soft toys
- thrive best in warm, damp conditions (1)
The following measures could be carried out to control the house-dust mites:
- regular vacuuming
- use of materials which are impermeable to mites for covers of mattresses and soft furnishings
- use of hard flooring rather than carpets
- keeping away soft toys from the bedroom
- acaricides applied regularly to soft furnishings
- wash bedding at high temperatures
- damp dusting
- although these measures will reduce the number of dust mites, it is not sufficient to have an effect in the control of asthma. Hence these cannot be recommended as a useful, cost-effective strategy based on current evidence (1).