Do Dust Mites Bite?

A woman vacuuming under her couch / Getty Images

Dust mites are common asthma allergens that lead to asthma symptoms by becoming airborne and triggering asthma attacks. Like other types of allergens, managing dust mites can decrease your asthma symptoms.

Dust mites do not bite. Unlike other types of mites that lead to skin irritation because of bites, dust mites generally do not bite humans. Biting mites include chiggers and bed bugs.

While dust mites may be transported around your home on your clothing, they do not survive by biting and feeding off you. Rather, dust mites feed on pet dander and dead skin from people and pets in your home. Dust mites can be found in mattresses, carpet, and upholstered furniture.

How to Get Rid of Dust Mites

There are a number of things that you can do to get rid of dust mites that may be triggering your asthma. Using a dehumidifier and setting the humidity level to below 50% is one way. Making sure that you frequently wash bedding in hot (at least 130 degrees) water is another way to kill off the asthma-triggering bugs. Additionally, it is a good idea to encase bedding, mattress, and pillows in impermeable covers that prevent dust mites from taking up residence in your bed.

If you don't mind cold floors in the morning then ditching carpet for wood or synthetic flooring is another mite controlling option. When cleaning, use a damp cloth as opposed to a dry one that will stir up dust and other allergens. Similarly, using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter will decrease your risk of exposure while cleaning your house. If you can get someone else to vacuum that is optimal. But if not, consider wearing a mask to avoid inhaling allergens.

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Article Sources
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  1. Portnoy J, Miller JD, Williams PB, et al. Environmental assessment and exposure control of dust mites: a practice parameter. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2013;111(6):465-507. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2013.09.018

  2. American Lung Association. Dust mites. Updated July 1, 2019. 

  3. Michigan Medicine. University of Michigan. Controlling dust, dust mites, and other allergens in your home. Updated January 21, 2019. 

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