Mites are small arthropods that are extraordinarily diverse and abundant in nature. Over 30,000 species have been identified, though many more remain to be characterised. From the health perspective, one of the most important species is the so-called house dust mite, which causes allergic disorders.
Many mite species have been identified in house dust, though the main representatives are D. pteronyssinus, D. farinae and Euroglyphus maynei. These species of mites mainly feed on human skin scales. As a result, they are mostly found in places where such scales are abundant (mattresses, cushions, blankets, eiderdowns, hair, etc.). Other species of mites (Tyrophagus, Lepidoglyphus, Glycyphagus, etc.), known as storage mites, feed on organic detritus, fungi, etc., and are therefore typically found in pantries, kitchens, floors and so on.
The allergens that cause such allergic reactions are found in the excreta and bodies of the mites. Many allergens corresponding to at least some 20 species of mites have been identified.
Patients who are allergic to dust must adopt a series of measures to ensure cleanliness, i.e., environmental control measures, to eliminate mites from the environment.
Allergy to dust may manifest in the home and in closed spaces. Although the symptoms can appear throughout the year, they are characteristically present in autumn. Street dust does not contain mites and only functions as an irritant.