Prime Site For Mites

Dust mites live in bedding, couches, carpet, stuffed toys and old clothing.

When was the last time you vacuumed your sleeper? Probably not recently enough. Because you spend so much time in your cab, it’s the perfect breeding ground for dust mites, an allergen that ranks second only to pollen. If you keep a dog in your cab, that further contributes to the food source for mites.

Asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis are the three main allergic diseases that have been linked to the house dust mite, which is invisible to the naked eye. If you have persistent allergic symptoms – coughing, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, or itchy and inflamed skin – mites in the bedding, seating or carpet of your cab could be part of the problem.

Dust mites live in bedding, couches, carpet, stuffed toys and old clothing. They need about 70 percent relative humidity or higher to live. They feed on the dead skin that routinely falls off humans and animals. They also live off water vapor, much of which we provide through perspiring and breathing – approximately 1 pint per person per night.

Consequently, areas where people spend much time, such as a bed or a favorite chair, are prime sites for mites. It’s common for millions of dust mites to live in one bed after several years, creating vast amounts of droppings.

Approximately half a teaspoon of house dust contains as many as 1,000 dust mites. That same gram of dust can hold 250,000 mite waste particles. A dust mite will produce 20 waste particles per day, which is 200 times its own body weight. Mites’ waste materials, shed skin and carcasses are what cause allergic reactions in people.

The main way to get rid of dust mites and other allergy-inducing parts of dust is to eliminate dust from the environment. These practices can help keep the dust mite population low in your cab:

  • Vacuum thoroughly once a week.
  • Shampoo or steam-clean non-washable carpets once a year. This removes large particles missed by the vacuum cleaner.
  • Wash sheets in soapy water at 140 degrees every week.
  • Take blankets to the dry cleaners.
  • Use an electric blanket instead of regular blankets. Avoid fuzzy wool blankets.
  • Enclose the mattress in a plastic cover.
  • Replace feather pillows and down quilts with synthetic fiber products. Any pillow more than 3 years old should be replaced.
  • Consider using a dehumidifier, especially when humidity is high.
  • If a dog rides with you, wash it frequently and brush it often outside the cab.

You’ll never see a dust mite with the naked eye, and chances are you’re free of respiratory problems. Still, these basic cleanliness practices will make your cab a healthier place to work and sleep.

A commercial approach frequently mentioned as a way to minimize dust mite presence is using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Their usefulness with regard to mite-related sickness is debatable; as for asthma patients, to date the majority of clinical studies do not prove conclusively that HEPA filters result in reduced medication use.

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HEPA filters reduce dust by trapping ultra-small particles, comprised largely of dust mites and their droppings. Regular vacuums redistribute the finer dust, dirt and allergens sucked from carpets back into the air.