Allergy Treatment Begins At Home (cont.)

How can dust covers help?

People with allergies to dust mites and molds are well served by encasing their pillows, mattress, and box springs in zippered, allergen-impermeable encasings. These covers provide the patient with a protective barrier against dust mites, their fecal particles, and mold antigens. This is critical in reducing your dust mite exposure especially if you take into account that most people spend at least one-third of each day in the bedroom. The bedroom is also a haven for dust mites due its warmth and humidity and to the abundant food source from human skin flakes and secretions.

Formerly, dust covers were only available in plastic. Fortunately, the technology has improved to the point that the newer fabrics allow airflow but completely prevent the passage of antigens through the impermeable fibers. The flow of air and perspiration through the fabric provides excellent comfort without the clammy feel associated with plastic. These products are increasingly available through various allergy catalogs, allergy supply houses, home supply stores and an ever-increasing number of online computer sites. Grocery store chains are increasingly carrying these products as awareness of their effectiveness has grown. Be sure to examine the samples available so you will be comfortable with your product choice. There is a range of prices for these products, so be sure to compare. Your allergist will typically have an array of catalogs and order forms to assist you in your search.

When people invest in dust covers, they sometimes omit the purchase of the box spring cover in an effort to economize. Since the body is not in direct contact with the box spring, people might think it is not important enough to bother with. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Several years ago, a study compared the dust mite counts of beds with partial versus complete coverings. It was quite clear that unless all parts are covered, the entire bed becomes reinfested with dust mites in a short period of time. The good news is that you can use a less expensive vinyl cover on the box spring since it does not touch the skin. The investment in complete dust covers is well worth the money.

Allergy Fact

Researchers in Spain recently found that children sleeping in the bottom and top bunks of bunk beds were equally likely to develop allergy to dust mites. However, the child sleeping on the bottom bunk was at a significantly higher risk of developing asthma than the child on the top bunk. It may be that the health aspects of bunking together should be considered when planning children's room designs, especially for families with asthma and allergy histories.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/16/2014

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Allergy Treatment at Home - Prevention Question: Does anyone in your household have allergies? Please share tips for preventing allergies in your home.