Disturbed sleep in babies and children leads to daytime fatigue, decreased cognitive functioning and poor education outcomes (Ruby Pawankar, et al 2013). If your child is allergic to something, their allergy could trigger asthma symptoms. Common things that cause an allergic reaction are pollen, mould, dust mites and pets.
A constantly running (or blocked) nose, itchy skin, eyes or ears and bouts of wheezing and coughing are symptoms of an allergy to house dust mites. Too small to see with the naked eye, house dust mites live in our carpets, sofas and particularly in beds and bedding – over two million dust mites live in the average double mattress! They feed on skin flakes moistened by bodily fluids and breed prolifically.
You may be lucky enough not to be affected by them … but for increasing numbers of children and adults, this is not the case and it has been proven that house dust mites and cat dander are the two underlying base allergies that trigger serious skin and breathing conditions (Institute of Medicine Report, Clearing the Air).
How Can an Allergy to House Dust Mites Affect You?
Allergies to house dust mites can trigger Asthma, Eczema, Allergic Rhinitis and can result in deafness.
It has been proven that pregnant women, who suffer from allergies, are far more likely to have babies who develop allergies and/or asthma later on (over 60% more likely if both parents have an allergy). Many children do grow out of asthma – but there is an 80% chance of asthma staying with you for life so prevention early in life is key.
The bodies’ tolerance levels are like an empty cup slowly filling up – a mild allergy may be tolerated, but continuous suffering decreases resistance and a point is reached where the tolerance cup overflows and then you lose all resistance. Allergies then become far more serious for instance; suffering with eczema often leads to becoming asthmatic and every asthma attack is potentially fatal.
House dust mites can also cause deafness. Author Marnie Riches found she was losing her hearing after moving to a new house. It was eventually discovered that there was a high concentration of house dust mites living there and if left to continue, she could have suffered hearing loss.
Although vacuuming the mattress, duvet and pillows regularly and washing bedding at 60 degrees centigrade will help to get rid of house dust mites (and bed bugs) – it will not stop them breeding. The most effective way to do this is to fit FULL bedding encasements (must be zipped, not elasticated) to the cot/child/adult mattress, duvet and pillows.
Tips to reduce allergens in the home:
- Air the bedrooms and living room daily to reduce humidity and create a draught
- Damp sponge tables, work tops and bedside cabinets
- Replace your vacuum cleaner with one with an allergen filter
- Vacuum mattress, duvet and pillows regularly and fit full, zipped bedding encasements
- Wash sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers and encasements at 60 degrees centigrade
- Consider replacing carpets with wooden flooring
- Place children’s soft toys and their pillows in the freezer for 24 hours regularly to kill mites
A study in 2017 (Dr Murray of University of Manchester, Dept of Infection, Immunity and Respiratory Medicine) found that by using Astex Allergy Bedding Encasements (made in UK) on the beds of mite sensitised, asthmatic children, reduced the risk of emergency hospital attendance by 45% ! Astex Allergy Bedding encasements are made with soft, white material called Pristine® – a unique, patented fabric, woven to such a minute pore size (5.9 microns), that it creates an impenetrable barrier preventing house dust mites and their allergens from passing through and coming into contact with your skin. They are not plastic backed or chemically treated and so the bedding encasement is soft, silent, cool and comfortable.
Over 99% of all allergens were recorded as being filtered out by Astex Pristine® fabric during tests by two US Universities and Astex Allergy Bedding Encasements hold the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval as well as being registered as a Class 1 Medical Device.
Visit: www.astexallergybedding.co.uk to find out more.
Astexallergybedding.co.uk. (2019). Dust mites allergy made me go deaf and needing surgery to repair damage.. [online] Available at: https://astexallergybedding.co.uk/research/ [Accessed 1 May 2019].
Institute of Medicine. 2000. Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/9610.
Morris, D. (2019). Allergy in Pregnancy and Childbirth | UK Allergy Testing and Treatment. [online] Dr. Adrian Morris of Surrey Allergy Clinic Tests and Treats allergies. Available at: https://www.allergy-clinic.co.uk/allergies/more-about-allergy/pregnancy/ [Accessed 1 May 2019].
Pawankar, R. (2014). Allergic diseases and asthma: a global public health concern and a call to action. World Allergy Organization Journal, 7, p.12.