Allergies can be incredibly debilitating. If you have an inhalant allergy — meaning you are allergic to something you breathe in, rather than something you eat or something that touches your skin — you probably experience unpleasant symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, sore throat, or constant sneezing.
Allergens can show up in all kinds of places, from pollen-laden air outdoors to the bedding in which we wrap ourselves up every night. When our bedding is the source of our allergens, this can mean that we spend all night sneezing instead of sleeping. Medication can help, but the best way to avoid these symptoms is probably to minimize your exposure to allergens. Here’s how allergy-proofing your bedding might help you enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Allergies Affect More People Than You May Think
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says that over 50 million Americans will experience some type of allergy each year. “The most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are: tree, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, and cat, dog and rodent dander,” the AAFA website explains.
What Is Allergy-Proof Bedding And Does It Work?
Dust mites are one of the most common allergen triggers, and they love nesting in non-allergy-proofed bedding. WebMD explains why: “Each adult person sheds about one and a half grams of skin every day. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that can live in your bedding and carpets and feed on this skin.”
If you’re done retching, let’s move on.
How can you prevent dust mites? Well, allergy-proof bedding is bedding that’s made from very tightly woven fabric. It’s intended to provide a solution to dust mite allergies by creating a barrier between you and the dust mites living within your bedding. It does this by encasing your mattress, pillows, and duvet cover to prevent you from breathing in dust mites while you sleep.
Before you shell out tons of money on allergy-proof bedding, however, be advised that it won’t work perfectly, and some people may have more success with it than others. Experts seem divided on the issue, and the research isn’t particularly promising.
For example, one review of scientific literature looked at 55 separate studies aimed at reducing dust mite allergies. The authors concluded that “Chemical and physical methods aimed at reducing exposure to house dust mite allergens cannot be recommended.” Nevertheless, some people swear by allergy-proof bedding (although the jury is still out on whether this is the result of a placebo effect).
How Can You Combat Allergens In Your Bedding?
While it might be frustrating to learn that allergy-proof bedding isn’t actually a guarantee that your bedroom will be free from allergens, the good news is there are other ways to cut down on allergens in your bedding.
A tip sheet from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) suggests that zippered, plastic covers may be helpful in keeping dust mites at bay. They also recommend using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your bedroom (because dust mites like humid environments), using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, and washing all bedding weekly in hot water (130°F, to be precise) before drying it in a hot dryer.
If you’re struggling with allergies at night, it may be worth trying to reduce your exposure to dust mites. While it may not be possible to get rid of the little pests completely, a few simple steps can help limit your exposure to these common allergens.
[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your allergist or medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]
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