One of the reasons my blog posts were sparse for a few weeks in May was because I was working up articles for the educational website DustMites.org. Yes, I was financially compensated for my research and writing services. Yes, the website is tied to another website for a manufacturer of dust mite mattress covers and related products. I am not promoting the products here. What I do hope is that my blog followers will point out any inaccuracies in the text, and/or give me a nudge if they hear of any new research or information pertinent to updating DustMites.org.
This project, likely to be an ongoing exercise, was quite challenging. Our collective knowledge of dust mites and their allergens is in relative infancy. One of the two most abundant and important species was only named and described in 1961. We still don’t fully understand the properties of some of the allergens, or how they act on our immune system.
There is also conflicting opinion as to the best way to alleviate asthma symptoms that are aggravated chiefly by dust mite allergens. According to one person who contacted me, rhinitis (upper respiratory system inflammation) symptoms are substantially relieved by dust mite covers on mattresses and box springs, but asthma (lower respiratory system inflammation) symptoms often persist.
A personal note: This kind of work, helping people through the dissemination of scientific information, is what I most enjoy doing. I welcome more projects like this in the future, be they related to entomology or natural history in general. Thanks for your patience during those times I am thus engaged and not as prolific in my blogging.