by Staff Writer
If you've been diagnosed with indoor allergies, your bedding is a good place to begin protecting yourself. You'll spend about a third of your life asleep, so if you suffer from allergies, it's crucial to make sure the bedroom is a safe haven. Whether you have trouble with dust mites or animal dander, you can make your bed an allergen-free zone with anti-allergen bedding and a bit of housekeeping.
Know the common allergens: Dust mites, tiny insects that are invisible to the human eye, are a major offender when it comes to bedroom allergens. Mattresses, pillows, and comforters all provide hospitable environments for dust mites; a typical mattress can harbor up to 10 million of these pests. These creatures consume dead skin cells in order to survive, and they thrive in dark, warm, humid environments.
Dust mites aren't the only threat to your allergies in the bedroom, however. Pet dander is often the cause of discomfort for people with allergies. All horizontal surfaces can hold dust, and pet dander often hangs in the air, so you'll want to take measures to reduce their presence in your bedroom, too.
Eliminate problem areas: The first step you should take to battle allergens is to eliminate excess fabric and upholstery. If it's feasible, the removal of carpet can be beneficial as well. If you're allergic to pet dander, ensure that animals are barred entry to your bedroom. Use a HEPA filter vacuum and a HEPA air filter to eliminate lingering dust and pet dander.
Defend yourself with allergen barrier covers: Next, you'll want to encase your mattress, box spring, and pillows with allergen barrier covers. Regular mattresses and bedding are prime real estate for dust mites, so it's smart to deprive them of a home if you're worried about allergens. Choose allergy mattress covers with a pore size that is suitable for your particular allergen; pore size is usually indicated in product descriptions.
If you have a dust mite allergy, you'll want bedding with pores sized at 10 microns or less.
To minimize problems with pet dander, look for pores that are under 6 microns in size.
Choose hypoallergenic bedding: Bedding with a hypoallergenic filling is a must for allergy sufferers. For many people, down alternative bedding is the best choice. Pillows, comforters, blankets, and pads filled with down alternative material will give you all the comfort of down feathers without exacerbating allergies.
Keep your bedding clean: In order to kill dust mites that may be in your bedding, wash your blankets and sheets once a week in water that is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. For bedding that can't be washed in hot water, use an anti-allergen detergent. To keep your mattress clean, follow this guide on freshening your mattress.