People frequently ask if dust mites bite. They have skin problems associated with their allergies (such as allergic urticaria) and assume that these hives are bites.
The answer to the question, “Do dust mites bite” is “Not only do they not bite, but they also can’t bite. They aren’t made that way.”
Dust mites are 1/100th of an inch in size. Their eating parts are not like ours. They don’t have a mouth with lips, teeth, and tongue. Instead, they have an opening that scoops up the shed bit of our skin and instead of chewing it (the way we chew our food) they secrete a digestive enzyme that begins to break it down and digest their food.
So, dust mites don’t have a conventional mouth, they don’t have teeth, they don’t chew, and they don’t bite you!
However, their body parts and feces contain a protein that causes allergic reactions. People with allergies may react in different ways. Some people may have respiratory problems and others show no respiratory problems but they have hives or eczema.
It might be easy to confuse hives with insect bites because they both cause bumps and can itch intensely. So, what you think are bites can be hives from allergy due to inhaling the dust mite particles and feces.
That is not to say that there are not bugs that can get in your bed and bite at night, but the symptoms will be different.
Bed Bugs Do Bite
If you have bed bugs, the key difference is that bed bugs literally bite humans and feed off of their blood. They leave a small bump that can itch intensely.
Bedbugs are larger than dust mites, and can be seen with the naked eye. They’re sometimes confused with dust mites because they live in bedding, carpets, and curtains. And like dust mites, they can also cause allergic reactions.
Bed bug bites tend to occur in rows of two or three. Also, if a bug is biting you in bed, you will find small specks of blood on the sheets. You will not find blood from dust mites.
You can visit an allergist for a skin or blood test to determine if you have dust mite allergy. Be sure to let the doctor’s office know if you are taking any over the counter or prescribed medications that can interfere with the test. For example, all antihistamines must be stopped well in advance of testing.
Testing a room for dust mites is a waste of time and energy. They are common and if people are sleeping in a room, it will have dust mites in it. So, instead of focusing on identification it is important to focus on reducing allergen levels.
The most commonly recommended first step is to encase the mattress, box spring, and pillows in special zippered dust mite covers that are impervious to dust mites and dust mite allergens.
In addition, dust catching knickknacks should be removed from the room and the sheets, pillows, and blankets should be washed weekly in 140°F water.
Dust mites can make you miserable, but they can’t bite you.
Wishing you the best of health,
The Allergy Store
PS. Allergy elimination is about eliminating the allergy-causing substance in your home the best you can. Once you do this, you may be able to eliminate the need for all the medications and doctor visits. For additional information please click here to download your free copy of” You Can Do It! Allergy Free Living.