We spend 6 to 8 hours of our day sleeping. And if you’re like most people, you probably use a fluffy pillow to support your head and shoulders during sleep. But did you know that the state of your pillow can affect your overall health?
Well, if you have had your pillow for more than two years and you have never cleaned it, maybe it’s the reason you wake up every morning sneezing and with a stuffy nose.
Unfortunately, your bed pillow may not be the only culprit for your allergies. Even your striking living room bohemian pillows can be a source of allergens if they aren’t clean.
Dirty pillows are loaded with dust mites, which are a major cause of allergies for many people. These little bugs that thrive on warm, soft surfaces feed on your dead skin when you’re asleep, producing waste that triggers an allergic reaction.
In this article, we look at how your pillow may be aggravating your allergy and what you can do to mitigate this discomfort.
Why Your Pillow May Be the Cause of Your Allergy
Pillows often harbor different allergens that trigger your body to produce antibodies, leading to the allergic reactions we know so well. Besides, if you’re allergic to any of these allergens, inhaling them in your sleep will worsen your allergy.
Some of the most common allergens found in pillows include:
Dust mites – These microscopic insects feed on the dead skin cells that you shed when sleeping. These skin cells collect on your pillow, and as the dust mites feed on them, they leave behind waste, which, when inhaled, results in sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and an itchy throat, among other allergic reactions. Old and dirty pillows are likely to have more dust mites than new pillows or those that are cleaned regularly.
Dust – Many people will frequently wash their bedding and pillowcases and forget to clean their pillows. Pillows, just like other bedding, collect dust over time. This is especially true if you don’t vacuum your bedroom often. Unfortunately, since a dusty pillow is right next to your nose as you sleep, you’ll inhale the dust leading to an allergic reaction.
Pet dander – Almost 70% of Americans are the proud owners of a Fido or a Fifi. Undoubtedly, pets are adorable, but not so much for people who are allergic to pet dander. Pet dander is the small particles of skin shed by dogs and cats. When you let your pet sleep on your bed, it increases your exposure to pet dander. Besides, your pet may carry dust mites from outside, increasing their population in your bedroom.
Molds and fungi – As you sleep, sweat collects on your pillow and bedding. This moisture plus the oils from your skin provide the perfect humid environment for molds and fungi to thrive. Synthetic pillows are particularly likely to have more molds and fungi as they don’t have moisture-wicking properties. Inhaling mold and fungi can trigger an allergic reaction.
What You Can Do To Reduce Allergens in Your Pillow
Here are a few tips you can use to reduce the allergens in your pillow.
- Change your pillows every two years
- Wash your pillows every three months with hot water and detergent
- Change and wash your pillowcases at least once weekly
- Open your windows from time to time and vacuum your bedroom every day
- Buy a hypoallergenic pillow that reduces the likelihood of allergens thriving in your bed
- Keep dogs and cats out of your bedroom
- Use a HEPA air purifier to trap pet dander, so it doesn’t settle on your pillow
There you have it. Now you understand why your pillow may be the cause of your everyday sniffling and sneezing. Hopefully, now you know what to do to keep your pillow allergens-free.