Is your mattress making you feel sick? The average person spends a third of their life sleeping, so if your mattress contains materials that irritate your allergies or asthma symptoms, your respiratory irritation may be worse than it needs to be. If you struggle with bringing your symptoms under control, find out if your sleep environment is to blame.
Allergies and Asthma Causes
Any time your body is exposed to a foreign substance, your immune system reacts. It produces antibodies and tags the substance as something that shouldn’t be there. Your body responds by fighting that substance, and that fight involves inflammation.
When that substance is inhaled, the fight takes place in your respiratory tract. Your immune system causes inflammation in your nose and eyes. With allergies, your eyes water, your nose runs, your face itches and your airways swell. Asthma symptoms include shortness of breath, a tightening of the chest, whistling or wheezing and coughing attacks.
While there are many different types of triggers for both allergies and asthma, the two often occur together. Both conditions can be serious, even fatal. Untreated asthma attacks can lead to cyanosis and eventually death. Allergies can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening.
There are medications to help manage both allergies and asthma, but there is no cure. Medical experts say the best way to keep symptoms under control is to find what triggers cause symptoms and eliminate or limit exposure.
The most common causes of allergies and asthma attacks are as follows:
- Airborne substances like household chemicals, pollen, pet hair, dust mites and mold
- Foods like nuts, eggs, shellfish and milk
- Insect bites
- Surface irritants like latex
How Many People Are Affected?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says allergies and asthma are some of the most common diseases in the United States. They provided these statistics:
- Allergies affect 50 million Americans and are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness.
- Conditions caused by allergies are the top reason children in the U.S. become sick.
- There are more people with allergies and asthma now than there were five years ago.
- The most common indoor allergies are mold, dust mites and pet hair.
Allergies and asthma don’t just create cold-like symptoms, they can make you more likely to actually get sick. When your immune system is constantly on red alert due to things in your environment, it is less able to fight off bacteria and viruses. Constant drainage can also cause sinus, ear or upper respiratory infections.
People with chronic asthma or allergies often stay on medication that makes them more likely to get sick. While corticosteroids and biologics treat symptoms, they do so by reducing the body’s inflammatory response, making it harder to fight off disease.
Your bed might feel like a sanctuary where nothing can disturb you, but it also provides a haven for dust mites. Dust mites are tiny eight-legged creatures you can’t see without a microscope. They are colorless, and they might be crawling through your mattress like invisible spiders.
The American Academy of Dermatology says every individual has about 19 million skin cells, and we’re constantly shedding them. The top 18 to 23 layers of skin are actually dead, so people shed between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells every single day.
You sleep in the same place every night, so one of the places those flakes of skin accumulate is in your mattress. Hair and body oil also rub off into your bedding. Dust mites think all this organic material is delicious. Throughout the day and night, they creep through your bedding munching on what they find.
As they eat, they also produce waste. Their waste becomes embedded in your mattress, where you touch and breathe it in. Your body recognizes insect waste should not be in your system and triggers an immune response. Your skin might itch and your respiratory tract shows the symptoms associated with environmental irritants.
It’s Not Just Dust Mites
Mattresses also contain other substances that can irritate allergies. Foam is one of the key materials in many mattresses because it’s inexpensive. As it breaks down, it releases volatile organic compounds into the air, irritating allergy and asthma symptoms.
Because foam is extremely flammable, mattress manufacturers saturate it with flame retardant chemicals. Boric acid is often used as a pesticide. Antimony can damage lungs. Polybrominated diphenyl ether is a chemical cocktail used in furniture for years that causes a wide range of medical issues.
Synthetic latex is one of the leading causes of skin allergies, and manufacturers often use it in mattresses. Vinyl is produced by using a range of toxic chemicals, many of which cause allergy and asthma symptoms.
Mold and mildew grow in damp environments, but sometimes they also become airborne. Most mattresses have poor ventilation, and airflow is further restricted by pillows, sheets and blankets. The air inside your mattress is seldom disturbed, so it provides a safe environment for mold and mildew spores to breathe. Spores can get in your nose and irritate existing conditions.
A Better Choice for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers
If your mattress is full of material that makes you feel sick, switch to a mattress that’s allergen-free. The best mattresses to reduce or prevent symptoms are made of natural materials and free of chemicals that can create irritation.
Intellibed mattresses are made of materials that inhibit dust mites, so you never have to wonder what might be crawling around in your bed. Our mattresses have zero off-gassing, so you sleep without worrying you might be inhaling dangerous fumes. Our mattress construction provides consistent airflow to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
One of the most important features of our mattresses is our exclusive Gel Matrix layer. The medical-grade gel provides more support than foam with incredible softness and zero toxicity. Your back and hips stay supported and your environment stays allergy-free. To find out more about how an Intellibed mattress can reduce your asthma and allergy symptoms, talk to an expert today.