Healthy bedrooms for allergy sufferers

Most of us live alongside dust mites without noticing - but for asthma and allergy sufferers they can cause sneezing, a runny or itchy nose and nasal congestion.

Woman in bed
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However, there are ways to cut down on the causes of allergies, particularly when it comes to the bedroom.

Dust mites thrive in moist, humid conditions, which is why your bed and pillows provide the perfect living space. It may look untidy, but one of the easiest ways to discourage dust mites is to leave the bed clothes pulled back each morning - giving the bedding a chance to air.

It's a good idea to wash bed clothes at a high temperature (at least 60C) once a week, especially for allergy and asthma sufferers, and regularly turn or vacuum the mattress.

The charity Asthma UK advises that removing carpets in the bedroom and replacing with hard flooring can help to keep the problem under control and reducing the humidity in the room will make it more difficult for the house dust-mites to survive.

In addition to regular cleaning and washing, there are products on the market which may reduce the effects on asthma sufferers and allow allergy sufferers to breathe more easily.

Dust mite encasement covers
Anti-allergy covers completely encase the mattress, duvet and pillows and are made from very tightly woven man-made or natural fibres that prevent dust mite, mould or pet allergens from escaping into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the risk of triggering allergies.

Some manufacturers, such as Allersafe, sell a range of mattress protectors as well as duvets, pillows and linen designed to keep dust mite allergies at bay.

Anti-allergy beds
If your problem is not fixed by simple covers, it may be worth considering an anti-allergy bed. These come in a variety of styles and mattress types just like standard beds.

By investing in a hypo-allergenic mattress or divan which includes an anti-dust mite barrier within the fibre, it is possible to prevent an infestation rather than control it. These anti-dust mite threads aim to kill off the micro-organisms the mites feed on, thereby making the bed or mattress a less appealing home.

Another useful tip is to try a dust resistant mattress. Latex or memory foam products are much denser than sprung or down-filled mattresses and pillows and are therefore less likely to collect and hold the dust. They can, however, be expensive so if you are strapped for cash, consider buying an anti-allergen mattress protector instead. Whatever your budget, opt for chemical, bleach and dye-free products so that you are not open to other allergy triggers.

Asthma and allergies can badly affect your quality of sleep so it is worth making the extra effort to properly care for your bedding.