19 January 2010

Dust mites ravage SA homes

As you are reading this, dust mites are living in your home right now, multiplying in the thousands.


Are you aware of your unwanted bed guest? As you are reading this, dust mites are living in your home right now, multiplying in the thousands. The most frightening is that they are multiplying in your and your family’s beds and pillows.

It is a fact that few realise. Dust mites are one of the most common causes for asthmatic, respiratory and allergenic reactions in today’s society, particularly in infants, children and senior citizens.

A pharmaceutical company, specialising in the production of safe, non-toxic product ranges for the alleviation of dust mite, bed bug and pet allergies, Germophobe Laboratories has launched a new range of products specifically for the South African market.

Says Germophobe Laboratories MD Avin Levy, "With our warm climate, high humidity and active lifestyles, South Africans are living with an alarmingly high count of naturally occurring dust mites. Because all the right conditions are in place for dust mites to live and breed, there is an extremely high chance that the average South African bed, including pillows, carry hundreds if not thousands of times more actively reproducing dust mites than most nations."

"As a result, South Africans are experiencing a higher degree of the associated side effects. The allergens produced by dust mites are the most common causes of an asthmatic attack. The main signs of a dust mite infestation include itchiness, watering or reddening of the eyes, inflamed or infected eczema, more mucus in the nasal tract, respiratory difficulty and sneezing."

"These symptoms are generally experience by most that come into contact with a higher than usual count of dust mites. The frightening fact is that these symptoms may worsen the case for those with existing respiratory, and other, conditions, leading to a greatly reduced standard of living, continued medical issues and, in a few very extreme cases, death as a result of respiratory conditions," says Levy.

Female dust mite produces 100 eggs
While the average life cycle of a dust mite is approximately 19 days, the female dust mite can live up to 70 days producing 100 eggs in the last five weeks of her life. While humans are not necessarily allergic to the dust mites, what we are allergic to are the faecal particles that they excrete after eating dead skin cells. One dust mite can produce up to 2000 faecal particles.

Levy further explains that is it relatively easy to tell if you, your child, or anyone else in your family has a dust mite infestation, "The faecal particles are localised, meaning that you will experience the allergic reactions in the vicinity of the infestation. For example, if you wake tired and sneezing, but recover as you leave your room, then there is a high chance that your bed carries the infestation. This may also be true for other areas where you spend a great deal of your time, for example couches and office chairs."

Dust mites restricted to certain temperatures
"The treatment of the infestation and the alleviation of the symptoms is a simple one. Dust mites are restricted to a certain range of temperatures, so regular washing of bedding and other breading areas is recommended especially when the cleaning process includes a temperature increase to over 60 or under 20 degrees Celsius.

Further a range of products developed specifically for the treatment of the symptoms of dust mites will also ensure a healthier environment," says Levy.

Germophobe’s MiteFfree™ Dust Mite Spray and Laundry Additive are products that can be used in the cleaning cycle to drastically reduce the effects of the faecal particles.

"We also believe in the well-being of the family pets, particularly cats and dogs, who are also susceptible to allergies associated with dust mites. We have therefore also included the Pet Relief™ Allergen Spray for the treatment of the pet’s sleeping areas. This will materially increase their standard of living, and control any further attack on their respiratory systems," says Levy. "We naturally included a react2pet™ Pet Allergen Spray that controls the pet allergens that trigger reactions in humans."

The product range is available at supermarkets as well as other leading pharmacies, health and pet stores countrywide.

(Press release, Lion’s Wings Brand Communications, January 2010)


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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies. obesity and diabetes societies and runs a trial centre for new drugs.

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