Studies have linked house dust mites to Singapore’s worrying asthma and respiratory allergy epidemic. Here’s what you can do to keep dangerous dust mites out of your home.
House dust mites lead to cell death
Asthma is a growing problem in Singapore. The chronic illness afflicts about 20 per cent of children and 5 per cent of adults in Singapore, and microscopic dust mites living in your home could be causing and worsening the condition.
Lung and airway irritation caused by a range of allergens including pollen, pet dander, mould, cockroaches and dust mites have been previously linked to the disease.
However, a study by theNational University of Singapore (NUS) and the Singapore-Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SMART) has uncovered compelling new evidence that house dust mites can cause lasting damage to lung cells and worsen the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory allergies.
“House dust mites can cause DNA damage in bronchial epithelium cells, the cells lining the central airways in our lungs,” explains researcher Ms Chan Tze Khee. “When DNA is damaged, DNA repair mechanisms are activated. Cells that are not properly and adequately repaired are more likely to die, which is predicted to worsen the asthmatic condition.”
Increased exposure to house dust mites in Singapore
That’s backed up by a separateA*STAR-NUS study that implicated house dust mites as the primary cause of respiratory allergies -- including asthma -- in Singapore.
The study revealed that approximately 80 per cent of the 8,000 participants were found to be allergic to house dust mites and that people from non-tropical countries experience increased sensitivity to house dust mites after spending more time in Singapore.
With allergic disease prevalence in tropical Southeast Asia at thehighest levels in 50 years, the study also set out to determine why the allergic response in tropical countries differs substantially from temperate zones.
Researchers believe that high humidity and ambient temperatures in Southeast Asia are ideal for the propagation of house dust mites and that as people in Singapore choose to spend more time indoors – especially in air-conditioned environments – exposure to house dust mites has increased.
“The results suggest that changes in lifestyle resulting in more time spent indoors increase our exposure to high loads of house dust mite allergens, which translates into a dominant cause of respiratory allergic diseases in Southeast Asia,” the report concludes.
How to rid your home of dust mites
Anobservational field study by Circassia Limited found that house dust mites commonly infest bedding, carpet and upholstered furniture and fabric.
Each house dust mite produces around20 droppings per day.A typical used mattress may be host to anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites. That’s 20 million droppings per day on your bed.
TheUniversity of Manchester performed a 2005 medical study of pillows that found up to 16 species of fungi in a single pillow,which can be inhaled by humans and spread into the eyes and skin causing all kinds of nasty health problems.
The good news is that regular vacuuming can help reduce allergy-causing dust mites in the home. However, not all vacuum cleaners are designed to remove dust mites, so it’s important to choose one that can do the job.
TheGtech Multi is clinically proven to remove 99.7 per cent of dust mites in the home. It combines powerful suction with versatile attachments – including a dedicated crevice tool – that are designed to reach all the hard-to-clean places where dust mites gather.
You can also use the Gtech Multi to clean your mattresses – another breeding ground for dust mites in the home – and it is powered by a 22V lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 20 minutes of cordless runtime on one four-hour charge.
As scientists continue to tackle the problem of house dust mite propagation in Singapore’s tropical climate, the best way to protect your children and adult family members from asthma and a host of other respiratory allergies is with an effective vacuum cleaner that is capable of removing microscopic dust mites from your home.