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FOCUS ON HOUSE DUST MITES

These little creatures are unpleasant, even sinister. They are the source of very allergenic substances.

 

A little…zoology

House dust mites House dust mites are not insects: they belong to the arachnid class (like spiders). The main species responsible for allergies are Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssimus. Their globular bodies have 4 pairs of legs at their extremities, covered with hair, claws and suckers. They measure between 0.1 and 0.6mm: impossible therefore to spot with the naked eye! 1-2 .

House dust mites are normally harmless and do not spread diseases.

 

Are house dust mites carnivores?

No need to panic: the little creatures don’t eat the big ones! House dust mite food is essentially made up of human and animal squama (“dead skin”, nail residue, hair)3 .

 

Why do house dust mites cause allergies?

House dust mite allergy is more specifically linked to proteins present in house dust mite droppings and grit from their dead bodies. Therefore, house dust mites remain allergenic even after death. It is impossible to avoid them.

 

 


[1] Milian E, Diaz AM. Allergy to house dust mites and asthma. P R Health Sci J. 23:1 (2004) 47-57.
[2] Tourdot S et al. Evaluation of therapeutic sublingual vaccines in a murine model of chronic house dust mite allergic airway inflammation. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 41, 1784-1792
[3] Didier A, Dutau G. Allergie respiratoire: nouveautés sur les allergènes de l’environnement domestique. Revue française des laboratoires. 281 (1996) 33-36.