We saw the symptoms, but did not know that Ethan’s allergies were so serious. It took a hospital stay for us to learn that he has asthma and severe allergies. At the top of the list of offending allergens is dust mites. That’s when I started researching allergens in the home and contacted Protect-A-Bed for information on their mattress and pillow protectors.
Dust Mite Allergy
Whilst Ethan was hospitalised, they ran a series of blood tests to test for allergies. He is allergic to grass, dogs, egg whites and house dust mites. He is Class 6 for dust mite allergy, which means he is very allergic. If I can put it into perspective, a non-allergic person would record a result of 0.00 – 0.35 in the test. Ethan’s result is > 100.00.
He is not alone. According to the Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA) allergy to dust mites is common, with around 10% of the general population showing clinical symptoms. Further, around 30% of all allergic patients react to dust mites, making it the single most common allergen in South Africa.
Allergies to dust mites may cause asthma, rhinitis, and exacerbate eczema. It is so common, that if you present with any of these symptoms, your doctor should suspect dust mites as the cause. Skin prick tests or blood tests may confirm a dust mite allergy.
Whilst researching dust mite allergies, I came across a number of helpful resources. The Allergy Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) have printable resources on allergies and asthma, and a reliable source of information. All my research kept highlighting the bedroom as the most important area of focus in allergen avoidance, particularly the bedding.
You can never get rid of dust mites. Their purpose is the feed on our dead skin scales, cleaning up after us. According to AFSA, there are roughly 1,000 mites in the average bed. That sounds disgusting! Even worse, the main cause of allergy symptoms is a protein found in the mite faeces.
For many of us, dust mites fortunately don’t pose a problem and we sleep with them every night with no adverse reactions. I would prefer not to, of course, but it won’t send me to the doctor. For Ethan, however, those 1,000 dust mites crawling around his mattress and pillow are harming him.
I had to reduce dust mites in our beds, and that’s why I contacted Protect-A-Bed. We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it makes sense that this is the starting point for allergy avoidance.
All the advice on dust mites states that mattresses and pillows must be covered with air-permeable fabric protectors. The fabric must be breathable, unlike plastic, or else the bed becomes hot and uncomfortable. Bedding should also be placed in direct sunlight every week to kill dust mites.
By using special fabric protectors, you are preventing dust mites from getting through into the bedding. Just by adding a pillow and mattress cover, I can reduce Ethan’s contact with allergens. I have also implemented other allergen avoidance measures, which I will be sharing in another detailed blog post.
Why choose Protect-A-Bed?
In order for protectors to be effective against dust mites, they need to be breathable and waterproof. Protect-A-Bed are made using the waterproof Miracle Membrane® that forms an impenetrable barrier to dust mites, whilst still allowing air transfer for a comfortable night’s sleep.
- Protect-A-Bed offer a 2 to 10 year warranty, across their product range
- Absorbent, breathable and waterproof
- Dust mite barrier and allergy protection
- Cotton terry surface
- Cool and comfortable to sleep on
- Protects mattresses from stains
- Range includes cot mattress protectors
Review of Premium Deluxe
Protect-A-Bed kindly sent me mattress and pillow protectors for the whole family. It’s important that I also protect my bed, as Ethan does crawl in to cuddle during the night. The Premium Deluxe is their most popular range and offers a 5 year guarantee (or 200 washes) for the mattress protector and 2 years (or 50 washes) for the pillow protector.
Before putting them on the bed, you must wash the protectors first. The protectors are thinner than I had thought, and don’t take much space in the wash. This is a good thing, as they should be washed every 4 weeks with the rest of the linen, to remove absorbed perspiration and skin scales.
The protectors dry surprising quickly, compared to another waterproof cot cover brand I had which took hours or overnight to dry. Protect-A-Bed covers are tumble dry safe, which is a bonus, though it is recommended you dry in the sun to kill off dust mites.
The protectors have a thin terry cotton surface which is comfortable and allows the sheet to fit over it and the mattress easily. The protector doesn’t move around in the night, as the waterproof coating seems to keep it in place. Compared to other protectors I have slept on, I don’t have to adjust it each morning or smooth out ruffles which are uncomfortable to sleep on.
The expanding skirt fits all depths of mattresses, as well as extra length. Can you used with an electric blanket. Besides worrying about dust mites, if the kids have an accident in the night or spill their water on their beds, the mattress is protected.
It is recommended you wash your pillow every month, unless you use a protector. By using a pillow protector and washing it monthly, I can stretch out having to wash our pillows to once every year. Top tip: if the pillow protectors seems a bit puffy and full of air, leave a small gap (1cm) when you zip it up. For allergy sufferers, it is still best to zip it up completely.
Many resources on dust mite avoidance, recommended a protector that encases the entire mattress. Protect-A-Bed offer the Buglock Plus, which does exactly that. I asked them whether this product would be better suited than the Premium Deluxe range.
The Buglock Plus is specifically designed to prevent a dreaded bed bug infestation. The protector encases the entire mattress, to prevent bed bugs from entering or exiting the mattress. This protector is most popular in the hospitality industry, where there is a greater risk of bed bugs being spread with multiple guests.
Why isn’t the Buglock Plus recommended first? When it comes to dust mite allergens, the Premium Deluxe still offers adequate protection and is easier to remove and wash monthly. The Buglock protector won’t offer significantly more protection against dust mites, and is harder to remove and wash monthly.
If, however, your allergens are very severe, a Buglock Plus would then be recommended. To make regular washing easier, it is recommended that a Premium Deluxe protector is fitted over the Buglock Plus.
Product supplied by Protect-A-Bed for review purposes. Images my own.