Allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis and asthma are often worse at night and the dreaded house dust mite is one of the most common triggers for an allergic reaction.
And the hub of these dust mites is your bed – one of their favourite places to live. It is important to keep your sleep environment as healthy as you can. Allergies affect over million adults in the UK and 59% of indoor allergy sufferers say their symptoms feel worse in the bedroom.
Supporting Allergy UK’s Allergy Awareness Week running 24th April to 1st May we thought we’d give you some top tips on how to reduce allergens in the bedroom, and hopefully improve your symptoms.
• Regularly replace your mattress – ideally every seven years. A typically used mattress has anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside.
• For mattresses that are still reasonably new and performing well, airing the bed each morning and regularly cleaning mattresses, protectors, pillows and blankets will help to eliminate the conditions under which house dust mites thrive.
• Keep the bedroom well ventilated: in an age of central heating and double glazing, they rarely are, but a good cool breeze through the room at night will help combat the problem as well as aid more restful sleep.
• Keep temperatures down and flowers OUT of bedrooms (they increase humidity levels).
• Leave bedclothes turned back during the day (this reduces humidity levels in the bed, inhibiting mite survival).
• Avoid drying clothes on radiators in the bedroom (again this stops humidity levels becoming too high).
• Give your mattress a good spring clean: take it outside for a good airing and then replace it upside-down and opposite-ways-round to its previous positioning. Clean the base with a soft brush to remove fluff and dust – if you have to use a vacuum cleaner do so very carefully and with the window wide open.
• While the bed is moved out from any walls, vacuum thoroughly under and around the bed – it can yield huge amounts of dust and fluff.
• Wash bedclothes and pillows regularly at a high temperature (this kills mites and removes mite faeces; all pillows should be washable these days).
• If hot washing is not possible, 24 hours in the freezer will kill any mites in a pillow prior to cold washing.
• If someone has a very severe reaction to pollen they should consider a mechanical ventilator – fans which bring in fresh air through pollen filters. They are not prohibitively expensive and can make a huge difference to sufferers.
• Fit roller blinds that can be easily wiped clean.
• Clean cushions, soft toys, curtains and upholstered furniture regularly.
• Use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter.
• Wipe surfaces with a damp, clean cloth, as dry dusting can spread the allergens further.
• Use bedding that protects against dust mites.