Forget about the Imaginary
MONSTERS UNDER YOUR BED…
The lowly dust mite is the real & present danger
This unpleasant-looking fellow is the reason
that you keep waking up feeling lousy – watery eyes, headache, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, depressed. These are dust mites - microscopic spiders that live in your mattresses, couches, pillows, and duvets, among other places - and produce 200 times their own body weight in excrement, all of which is loaded with guanine, the key cause of allergies that can also trigger asthmatic attacks. They are everywhere, and often come pre-installed with the mattress. Since mattresses are a sealed environment, they are difficult to clean and the mites are left alone
to breed in isolation, aided by the heat and humidity that they love, making a mattress more and more contaminated. Even a sixmonth old mattress can pose health risks to its owners. Beds are a prime habitat (where 1/3 of life occurs). A typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside and it is estimated that as much as 10% of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings. Their favourite food is what we politely call "dander", which is both human and animal skin flakes. Humans shed about 1/5 ounce of dander (dead skin) each week - about 80 percent of the material seen romantically floating in a sunbeam is actually skin flakes. Also, bedroom carpeting and household upholstery support high mite populations. One of the most strongly allergenic materials found indoors is house dust, often heavily contaminated with the fecal pellets and cast skins of House Dust Mites. Estimates are that dust mites may be a factor in 50 to 80 percent of asthmatics, as well as in countless cases of eczema, hay fever and other allergic ailments. Common causes of allergy include house dust mites, cat dander, cockroach droppings and grass pollen. Symptoms are usually respiratory in nature (sneezing, itching, watery eyes, wheezing, etc.), usually NOT A RASH. However, there are reports of a red rash around the neck. Other allergic reactions may include headaches, fatigue and depression.
The wheeze-inducing proteins are digestive juices from the mite gut which are quite potent. An exposure to the mites in the first, crucial year of life can trigger a lifelong allergy. There is no cure, only prevention. One must control house dust mite levels. The University of Manchester performed a 2005 medical study of pillows that
found up to 16 species of fungi in a single pillow. They tested feather and synthetic pillows in a range of ages, finding thousands of spores of fungus per gram of pillow ; more than is found on an average used toothbrush.
Here are some more fun numbers:
- On the mattress surfaces : contain 1 billion germs per cm2 , including bacteria, mold, viruses, and fungus. By comparison a toilet has 30,000/cm2
- Inside the mattress: 10 million dust mites in a typical 5-6 year old mattress (plus dead mites and all that accumulated excrement)
- Body fluids : 24 litres of sweat per year per person, not including saliva, spills, and other body fluids
- Dead skin : 1 kilo of dead skin per person per year. This is mites' main source of food - if they don't get this they can eat their own excrement 3 times
The solution to all this is a simple treatment done once a year. It takes 15 minutes per bed and is done on-site, leaving the mattress clean, sanitized and revitalized. Les Walsh is the owner of Yamira Cleaning, a company specifically set up in 2008 to offer this specialized service to both residences and hotels. The company removes years of allergens, sweat, dead skin, bacteria and other contaminants that have accumulated using an all-natural, chemicalfree, dry treatment cleaning and sanitizing process using specialized equipment. Beds, pillows, duvets, and couches are left disinfected, fresh-smelling, rejuvenated, and most important of all – allergen-free.
"We offer what is – at present – a very niche service," Walsh explained, adding with a smile that "it's kind of un-glamourous and explaining what we do can really ruin a dinner party. However, people who suffer from allergies love us."
It has been far from easy for the fledgling company, as their launch took place just before the PAD came along and closed the airport, followed more recently by the tourism- killing protests by the Red Shirts. "Our business model was heavily focused on the hotel sector," Walsh explained, "and for last few years they have been going through very difficult and uncertain times, making it tough for us to get their business. We are all hoping for a big high season and a return to happier days. However, despite all the upheaval, we have managed to build a solid
client base of top-quality hospitality properties like The Rembrandt, Anantara, Marriott, Poppies, Oakwood and Chiva Som, along with a rapidly-growing residential clientele that includes some of Samui's top villas and vacation homes."
The company is looking to make inroads into the Phuket hotel market and is extending a special enticement, offering extended payment terms of 25% down and the balance paid monthly for up to 11
months, making it cash-flow friendly. Says Walsh, "our service lets the hotels show that they takes the health of their guests seriously – what a great message for Phuket to send
to the world." Contact them directly at mobile number 081 919 7638 or at