Microscopic animals of the family of arachnids (spiders), not visible to the naked eye, dust mites reproduce in the dust inside our homes.
It is not the mites themselves but the feces and debris of dead mites which are the allergens responsible for respiratory allergies. These particles are primarily found in dust and are dispersed in the air by handling or by doing housework.
Inhalation of dust mites is the cause of respiratory diseases such as allergic rhinitis or asthma and skin contact may to a lesser extent cause eczema.
Dust mites are responsible for 50% of allergic asthma amongst adults and 80% of allergic asthma in children.
Dust mites thrive in the indoor environment provided by houses, even the cleanest. They survive well in bedding, curtains, cuddly toys, sofas, fabrics and carpets.
One gram of dust can contain up to 10 000 dust mites!
Dust mites take part in the decomposition of organic matter and feed on organic detritus such as shed skin, hair and nails. Beds are an ideal place for dust mites to thrive due to body moisture and flakes of skin shed naturally during sleep.
A mattress can contain up to 2 million dust mites !
Pets (cats and dogs)
In western countries, cat allergens are the second cause of respiratory allergies after dust mites. Cats are also the most allergenic pets.
The cat allergy in humans does not result from cat hairs but from a protein secreted mainly by the animal’s sebaceous and anal glands. As a cat grooms itself, it deposits allergens (the protein) on to dander, which can provoke allergic reactions among sensitized people who touch or get close to the animal.
The cat allergen is responsible for approximately 25% of cases of allergic asthma.
These allergens gather on rugs, carpets, drapes, and clothes which have been in contact with a cat. Moreover, the cat allergen is carried by clothes and it can be found in dust in hospital rooms, class rooms, nursery schools or child care centers. A person who is allergic to cats can manifest allergic reactions without having been in contact with a cat or having one at home. Once a house is cat-free, it can take up to six months for the rate of cat allergens to go back to the level of a house which has never had a cat.
DOGS are less allergenic than cats.
Dog allergen is found in the dog’s coat, skin and saliva.
It is responsible for 10 to 15% of allergic asthma.
Molds are pollutants which are naturally present in the air and are potentially dangerous when they grow inside homes.
Mold allergies have particularly developed in recent years due to the evolution of our life styles: more frequent showers, steam cooking, lack of ventilation… cuisine
all of these have increased the rate of humidity in homes, which are better insulated and often badly ventilated. These conditions contribute greatly to the development of molds.
Molds are microscopic fungi which grow in warm, damp and badly ventilated places: old buildings, bathrooms, kitchens, cellars, aquariums, and the earth of green plants. When visible, which is not always the case, mold appears as black or brown spots.
Exposure to molds, particularly by inhalation of airborne spores and high concentrations found in dust, is likely to lead to various respiratory and skin pathologies dominated by allergic reactions (rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma).
Mold is responsible for approximately 10% of allergic asthma.
As well as the allergenic effects, molds can also provoke irritation of the eyes, nose and throat by the VOC released in indoor air during reproduction.