Friday, November 23, 2007
7 News Investigations: Dusty Discovery
Fancy sheets, soothing sounds, scented candles. Lots of us take extra steps to make our beds the perfect spot for slipping into a deep and restful slumber. For some folks, sleeping tight means sleeping with something old and familiar.
WSVN -- Melina Schuler: "This pillow has traveled from the home where I grew up, to my college dorm room, to my new home in Boston, to where I'm living now."
But because of that favorite pillow or comforter you've had for years, you may be sharing your bed with some uninvited guests.
Cara Real, homeowner: "I don't even want to think about it."
Most of us don't, but it's the reality. Microscopic dust mites live where you sleep and feast on the tiny bits of dead skin your body naturally sheds.
Jeffrey C. May: "They are living off the moisture from our bodies. The food source is infinite. There's just skin scales."
And the droppings these creepy critters leave behind could make you sick.
Jeffrey C. May: "It's actually the largest cause of asthma symptoms in the world."
To really see the problem we cut into a 15-year-old pillow and this old mattress. They were both packed with dust mite droppings!
Melina Schuler: "It's gross."
We also took our expert into some typical bedrooms and found some trouble there too.
Jeffrey C. May: "What I'm going to do is take two different kinds of samples from the bed. That's a mite dropping right there."
Diane Lynch: "Really disgusting."
Inside 12-year-old John's room, which was recently re-done by his parents to help him sleep more soundly, more unwanted visitors.
Jeffrey C. May: "That's a mite. That's the head of a mite. That's usually indicative of there having been a pretty significant infestation."
Cara Real: "It's gross. It's, it's awful."
And while this Ashland family likes to hang out together, 10-year-old Angela has mixed feelings about what hangs out in her bed.
Angela Faneuff: "I think it was cool and a little gross because I know that I'm sleeping in it every night."
Jeffrey C. May: "That's the mite right there. That's the head and there are two legs. Now that's a significant find."
Wendy Faneuff: "I've definitely had a couple of nightmares since finding out. I just think it's gross."
And these dust dwellers can trigger some serious symptoms.
John J. Costa: "One of the clues to dust mite allergy are folks who wake up every morning with some itchiness of the eyes or some crusting of the eyes, stuffy nose, runny nose."
Check with your doctor to see if you're suffering from dust mite allergies.
There's no way to completely rid your bed of dust mites, you can contain them by washing bedding in extremely hot water, putting your pillows in a hot dryer once a month and, most importantly, putting plastic covers on all mattresses and pillows.
That way, the next time you crawl under the covers, you won't make a dusty discovery.