Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dust Mites

Several years ago, in the middle of the night, you woke up feeling as if you were unable to catch your breath. You were only able to feel like you could breathe when you sat up and placed your feet over the side of the bed and on the floor. The next day you felt absolutely fine.

This happened a few more times on subsequent nights. By then you were totally freaked out. On the Internet you looked up all the possible causes of such breathlessness, but none seemed to fit. You could still play two hours of tennis or do a hard workout at the gym. Then you read somewhere that it might be caused by an allergy to dust mites.

Dust mites are seriously gross, yucky creatures.

Sorry. You just couldn’t resist. Here's what they really look like.

You read more and learned that dust mites love down pillows. You immediately switched to pillows with synthetic stuffing.

And never experienced breathlessness again.

But you were nagged by doubts. Was your breathlessness really because of dust mites? You wished you had a microscope so that you could see if they actually lived in your bedding.

You told this story to a special friend. On your next birthday she gave you a beautiful microscope.

You took samples from your down pillows, sheets, mattress, and even dust under the bed – from every possible place where you thought a dust mite might tread.

And yet, you could never find one. Reading still more, you learned that dust mites usually like a climate with greater than 80 per cent humidity. Except for a few months a year, that was definitely not the climate around New York.

To this day you don’t know what caused the breathlessness. But you do have a wonderful microscope.

Mr. Bill says, “How thrilling! A regular Louis Pasteur! Save me before I pass out from excitement.”

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