Allergens are everywhere – in the air, on your clothes, in your carpet and upholstered furniture. Some people are more sensitive to them than others, and if you’re one of these unfortunate folks, you’re probably sneezing or wheezing your way around the city on a near-daily basis.
One of the usual culprits when it comes to triggering allergic reactions is the very surface you sleep on. Dust mites thrive in mattresses and bed linens. These microscopic creatures feed on flakes of human skin and their feces contain DerP1, a very common yet potent allergen. If you have a sensitivity to dust mites, you may exhibit eczema, chronic sinus problems and even asthma-like symptoms.
Here’s another reason to take dust mite allergy seriously, particularly if you have children: It’s a risk factor for developing asthma. This allergy may be common among kids, but that is no reason to ignore it and hope it goes away. The earlier you nip the problem in the bud, the less likely your children’s symptoms will worsen.
Good thing there’s a way for you to decrease exposure to dust mites on your family’s beds: Use hypoallergenic bedding products, like the ones below.
Dust mite covers
Did you know that about 10 percent of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow can comprise mites (dead and alive) and their droppings? By investing in dust mite covers and encasing your pillows in them, you effectively prevent mites from making your pillows their home. And if there are already mites in your pillows, using dust mite covers will cut them off their food source – you.
Dust mite covers are usually made of plastic or vinyl and are easier to clean than those made of natural fibers. Nylon is also used as an outer layer to make covers more comfortable. There are also dust mite covers for mattresses and box springs, so do shop around. Tip: It’s best to encase pillows and mattresses when they are new.
These pillows are naturally resistant to mold and dust mites. There are hypoallergenic pillows made of latex, which wicks away warm moisture (like sweat). Other materials that wick away moisture – and prevent dust mites from thriving – are wool, silk and down. If you are allergic to feathers, there are synthetic, allergy-free down alternatives. Some hypoallergenic pillow manufacturers have already encased their products with a dust mite impermeable cover so you can simply use a regular pillow case.
There are latex and memory foam mattresses that are resistant to dust mites. If you prefer a latex mattress, look for one that is encased with soft cotton. If a memory foam mattress is more to your liking, you can consider one that has cooling gel infused in the foam layer so you don’t sleep hot (one of the common complaints among memory foam users).
Tips to minimize dust mites
To further keep dust mites away, follow these tips.
● Kill dust mites by washing bedding in hot water, not cold.
● Invest in a metal or wooden frame for your mattress.
● Wash bed linens and pillowcases at least once a week, and wash comforters at least every month.
● Wash and dry stuffed toys often and avoid putting them on beds.
● Make sure to keep your mattress clean.