Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Health -

Do you suf­fer from al­ler­gies, nasal con­ges­tion, sore and itchy eyes, wheezi­ness and gen­eral lethargy? Your mat­tress, pil­lows and bed linen could be the cul­prits.

Even rel­a­tively new mat­tresses have the po­ten­tial to be hot­beds of dead skin cells, sweat and al­lergy-in­duc­ing dust mites.

“We lose about half a kilo of skin and sweat in our mat­tresses each year,” says Pro­fes­sor Pete Smith, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of Al­lergy Med­i­cal in Bris­bane.

“That is a breed­ing ground for dust mites – they love dark, warm, hu­mid en­vi­ron­ments, which makes the mat­tress and your bed the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for them,” adds Hardeep Singh from The San­i­tiz­ers in NSW.

“Dust mites won’t bite you – it’s their urine and fae­ces that cause the prob­lems. Dust mite al­ler­gies can af­fect you ou all year round, but they will be­come worse in the sum­mer, when con­di­tions are warmer and more hu­mid.”

Arm your­self this sweaty sea­son with these top tips

1 Have your mat­tress cleaned ev­ery three or so months by a rep­utable com­pany that uses chem­i­cal-free, wa­ter-free, UV ma­chin­ery. “UV light is the only thing that can kill the mites,” says Hardeep. “Be sure they are us­ing a vac­uum sys­tem, too, in or­der to re­move all de­bris in the mat­tress.” 2 Al­ways pro­tect your mat­tress with a top qual­ity, breath­able mat­tress pro­tec­tor that at can be re­moved f for clean­ing. “Wash all bed linen ev­ery week on a very hot wash,” ad­vises Pro­fes­sor Smith. “Dust mites can sur­vive a wash, so you need 50-60°C to de­stroy them.” Hang all bed linen on the line in di­rect sun­light, too. 3 Keep a de­hu­mid­i­fier in your room in the warmer months. “Dust mites can’t drink, so they rely on hu­mid­ity for hy­dra­tion,” ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Smith. “When hu­mid­ity is less than 40 per cent, they die.” 4 Air your mat­tress and pil­lows reg­u­larly by leav­ing the bed un­made – and in di­rect sun­light, if pos­si­ble – for a few hours.

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