Dust allergy and dust mite allergy are actually one and the same. When you are allergic to dust, you are allergic to the mites it contains. So what is a dust mite, why are people allergic to them, and how can an air purifier help?
1. Understanding dust and mite allergy
Between 25% and 30% of the population is allergic and almost half have an allergy to dust mites 1,2,3 . It is therefore a very common type of allergy that affects millions of people.
This form of allergy is far from trivial because it can often lead to asthma in adults and children alike. It is estimated that 80 to 95% of asthma in children has an allergic cause 4 ; this may be due to allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, either acutely or chronically). Conversely, almost half of people with allergic rhinitis also have asthma 4 . The two are therefore intimately linked. Another study showed that for 57% of people with asthma, the cause is a dust mite allergy 5 .
Mites are tiny animals that belong to the same family as spiders. Due to their size of only a few microns, they are invisible to the naked eye. There are thousands of species of mites (ticks and chiggers are among them), but only about ten of them that live in our home and can cause allergies. These are commonly called dust mites and feed mainly on our debris and dander (hair, dead skin, nails, etc.) and those of our pets.
House dust mites are therefore an integral part of the ecosystem and even recycle some of our organic waste. However, they can also cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive people due to certain proteins found in their shells and droppings.
The symptoms are typically the same as those for other respiratory allergies (such as allergies to grass or animal hair): sneezing, sore throat and eyes, skin reactions, or even eczema. This can turn into rhinitis, conjunctivitis, or asthma, depending on the case.
It only takes 2 mg of dust mites to cause an allergic reaction 6 . A single gram of dust can contain up to 2000 6 of mites. And it just so happens that dust mites produce up to 200 times their weight in excreta (to which we are allergic).
Dust mites gather in colonies, which can contain several millions of mites, in certain areas of the house with which all allergy-prone people are familiar: mattresses and bedding, curtains, rugs, carpets, and all textiles in general. Note that their population is higher in winter than in summer.
3. Which solutions do air purifiers provide?
The first solution against dust mites is to, of course, regularly clean your space, particularly the bedding. However air purifiers can be an integral part of the solutions to combat this type of allergy, as long as they come equipped with a HEPA filter, as is the case with AIRVIA Medical products.
3.1) Filtration of dust mites and their waste present in the air
The main advantage of an air purifier with a HEPA filter is that it filters all dust and fine particles down to 0.01 microns. This means that it can remove any dust in the air that contains dust mites.
Due to the fact that much of the dust in our homes is suspended in the air, it is less visible than the dust that is deposited on our surfaces and tables. However, it is still very present, as can be revealed to us when a ray of sunlight illuminates the room. An air purifier will completely remove this dust from the air, which can be generated by our movements or when we vacuum.
In addition to a HEPA filter, AIRVIA Medical air purifiers are equipped with a pre-filter and a bamboo fibre filter, both of which are very effective against dust and everything it contains.
You will, of course, have to choose a device with sufficient power to handle the entire space. To do this, refer to the "CADR" (Clean Air Delivery Rate). This is the benchmark indicator for evaluating the efficiency of a purifier by measuring the volume of air it cleans over a given period of time. At 500m3/h for the AERO 100 model and 550m3/h for the PRO 150 model, AIRVIA Medical offers industry-leading power. This allows it to treat all the air in your space within just a few minutes.
Another benefit of a quality air purifier is that it has a broad spectrum of filtration technologies and action. This will remove all pollutants and allergens from your air, such as:
- Animal hair
- Smoke (from cigarettes, wood fires)
This will help fight cross-allergies and any potentially irritating substances in your indoor air. AIRVIA Medical devices combine 8 filtration technologies and can remove 99.97% of particles with a diameter of greater than or equal to 0.01 µm.
1 Bauchau, V., Durham, S. (2004). Prevalence and rate of diagnosis of allergic rhinits in Europe, European Respiratory Journal, vol. 24, no 5, p. 758-764.
2 Arbes, S. J., Jr., Gergen, P. J., Elliott, L., Zeldin, D. C. (2005). Prevalences of positive skin test responses to 10 common allergens in the US population: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, J Allergy Clin Immunol., vol. 116, no 2, p. 377-383.
4 Mullol J. et al. Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma Update (ARIA 2008) : the perspective from Spain. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2008 ;18 :327-334
5 Gregory and Lloyd. Orchestrating house dust mite-associated allergy in the lung