Dust mite allergies are one of the most common allergies in the UK, and can have an adverse effect on your sleep.
Dust mites are tiny, bug-like creatures that live among the fibres of carpet, bedding, curtains, and all kinds of upholstery. At a quarter of a millimetre long, they are invisible to the human eye. Studies have shown that our bed is the prime place where dust mites like to lurk – a typical used mattress can contain anywhere from 10,000 to 10 million dust mites. Dust mites are pretty harmless, but they can be the source of allergy symptoms in a lot of people, ranging from mild to severe. It is not the mites themselves that we are allergic to, but the proteins in their droppings. Each dust mite can produce up to 20 droppings per day and the effects of these droppings may continue long after the mite itself is dead.
How can I tell if I have a dust mite allergy?
The symptoms are very similar to hay fever or a cold, so a lot of people often don’t consider that their bedding could be the cause.
Typical dust mite allergy symptoms include:
- Red, itchy or stuffy nose
- Itchy throat
- Tight chest, wheezing or coughing
- Infantile eczema in young ones
- Sniffling or a constant upward rubbing of the nose in children.
How to minimise dust mites
There are a number of things you can do to control the number of dust mites in your furniture and minimise allergy symptoms.
- Place allergen-proof protectors over your pillows, mattresses and duvets to minimise your contact with mites.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when cleaning or changing bedding to reduce your own symptoms.
- Avoid shaking out bedding or curtains inside where possible, as this can send dust mite droppings into the air and potentially make allergy symptoms worse.
- Wash all bed linen once a week and filled bedding once a month at a temperature of 60°C. All of our spundown pillows, duvets and protectors contain an advanced Smartfil fibre filling that allows them to be washed at 60°Cor above – the temperature that kills dust mites. As our spundown products are highly compressible, they can fit easily into your washing machine drum and will return to their original plumpness afterwards.
- Keeping rooms well ventilated, if only for a few hours each day, can help to dehydrate bedding and upholstery so that dust mites cannot thrive. Open windows, trickle vents (if double glazed) and air dehumidifiers will all help.