- The most common symptoms of bedroom allergies include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itchiness, including itchy eyes.
- Dust mites, pet dander, and mold are among the most prevalent allergens found on and around your mattress.
- Keeping your bedroom and bedding clean, controlling humidity, and limiting pet access to your bed (or your bedroom entirely) can all help to reduce the prevalence of allergens that can affect your sleep.
Allergies are an immune response that your body has to something in your environment. There are many different types of allergens and allergic reactions. While some allergies arise only seasonally, such as when certain plants flower, others may last for a longer period. In some cases, these reactions are caused by bedroom allergens. Given the numerous hours you spend every night on your mattress, these bedroom allergens can cause significant symptoms and can disrupt your sleep as well.
What Are the Symptoms of Bed Allergies?
Because they are an individualized immune response, allergies can cause a vast array of symptoms. The type of response also depends on the specific allergen. For example, inhaled allergens typically cause issues with nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, sore or itchy throat, cough, and similar respiratory issues. Allergens that touch the skin can cause rashes, itching, or blisters. And allergens that touch the eyes can cause itchy, red, or watery eyes. The most common bedroom allergens are ones that you breathe in, so the most prevalent symptoms are related to nose and throat irritation.
What Are Possible Causes of Bedroom Allergies?
In your home and bedroom, the most common types of allergens are dust mites, pet fur or dander, mold, and seasonal allergens like pollens.
- Dust mites are very tiny insects that accumulate in places where dust and dead skin cells collect. Unfortunately, this often includes your mattress and bedding.
- Pet fur and pet dander (skin cells shed by a pet) are both capable of causing allergies. These tend to collect in the areas where your pet spends the most time.
- Mold grows in damp parts of your home that are without sufficient ventilation. Inhaled mold spores can cause allergic reactions.
- Pollens and other outdoor seasonal allergens can enter the home through open doors and windows. They can also be carried into the home on your clothes and on pets.
There are also other sources of allergens in the home. These can range from certain building materials to cleaning products and detergents to various foods and drugs. In rare cases, it is possible that a person is allergic to materials that are used inside their mattress or to the materials used in bedding.
Also keep in mind that the presence of an allergen does not mean that you will have an allergic reaction. Some people do not have allergies to dust mites or pet dander or other allergens and as a result are not sensitive to the presence of those things in their bedroom. But if you notice that you are having allergy symptoms, it could be the result of one or more of these allergens in your home.
How Can I Protect Myself From Mattress Allergies?
While it’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate all allergens from your bedroom, there are a number of practical steps that you can take to help prevent them from building up. First, keep your bedroom and your bedding clean. Regularly vacuum floors and furniture with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter, which helps to suck up allergens off of surfaces. Wash your bedding frequently in hot water and also consider using hypoallergenic covers on your pillows and mattress. Second, control the humidity in your bedroom. Both dust mites and mold thrive in higher humidity environments, so a dehumidifier can reduce their ability to grow. Third, limit the amount of time that your pets spend on your bed and in your bedroom. This is especially important if your pets are prone to significant shedding.
If these steps don’t help, talk with your doctor. Anyone who has persistent or severe allergies should consult with a health professional, such as an allergist, who can help conduct tests to identify specific sensitivities. A doctor or allergist may also be able to prescribe medications that can help control allergy symptoms.
Where Can I Learn More?
Detailed information about allergies is available from MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine. The National Sleep Foundation also offers tips for reducing bedroom allergies, and the National Institutes of Health offer helpful hints for knowing the difference between a cold, the flu, and allergies.