Are you tired of waking up with a blocked nose? Use… Oh, wait, no. Wrong add. Let’s try that again. Are you tired of waking up in the middle of the night to your partner’s snoring? Or do you wake up with itchy eyes and a runny nose, but you don’t know why? If you don’t have a cold or the flu, you are probably showing an allergic reaction to something. Most likely something in your bed or in your bedroom. But how will you know what affects you like this? There are quite a number of allergies out there, so how will you know which one to counteract? Read on to find out! In this blog post, we will give you a couple of ideas on how to get rid of your allergies so that you can wake up with open airways and a well-rested body.
What are allergies? Aren’t people allergic to bees, shellfish, nuts and stuff?
“And stuff”… What do you suppose those stuff are? Maybe it is your cat’s long hair or maybe it is just dust from the curtains that you haven’t washed in the last two years. Who knows? However, one thing is for sure! Bees aren’t the only thing that people can be allergic to. Simply put, allergies can be anything that prompts your immune system to react negatively or out of character.
People get all sorts of allergic reactions to various substances. You can get blocked sinuses because of breathing in too much dust. Then there are seasonal allergies (exactly what it says, your body reacts negatively to the change of the season), with symptoms like a runny nose and teary eyes. There is contact dermatitis, where you get a skin rash if you come into contact with something that your immune system doesn’t like. The list goes on and on! But we are not here to talk about your dietary requirements or about different ways in which your body rejects medication. We are going to talk about allergies that creep up on you while you sleep. “Stuff” like dust mites and mold. And while we are at it, we’ll give you a couple of tips on how to get rid of them.
Quick run-through of the symptoms
I don’t want to bore you with all the details about how allergies work. However, I do think that it is important to know what you are up against. Moreover, it is good to be educated about the microscopic creepy-crawlies that might be the cause of your blocked nose. A lot of people go through life with runny noses and blocked sinuses in an accepting kind of way. “That’s just the way it is”, they say. Or they just think that they have weak immune systems and drink more vitamins. But to no effect! So just take a quick peek at symptoms that classify as allergic reactions. Who knows, maybe you have been suffering from an allergic reaction all along without knowing it! And maybe this simple blog post can save you a lot of discomfort in the future…
Dust allergies are triggered by dust mites. These microscopic organisms can be found in carpets, bedding and curtains and is the most common trigger of dust related allergic reactions. They feed off dust particles and moisture in the air, so they are quite common in stuffy bedrooms. Often times these little pests float into the air as soon as someone disturbs them. So if you flop down onto your bed that is riddled with dust mites, they all float into the air, which might cause your allergic reaction to them. Symptoms include:
- A runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Struggling to breathe/feeling out of breath
It’s all in the name! If your nose starts to run or your eyes start to itch after you played with a pet, it is safe to say that you have an allergic reaction to pets. The bad thing about pet-related allergies is that you can show symptoms even if you haven’t been in direct contact with a pet. One of my close friends shows a severe allergic reaction to cats, so every time he comes to visit me he brings a bunch of allergy medicine with to counteract the effect that my cats have on him. He doesn’t even have to come near the cats to start showing symptoms of his allergy. What does his allergies look like?
- Red, itchy eyes
- Blocked nose
- Feeling out of breath
- And if it gets really bad, his chest starts to contract and he can’t breathe properly.
Do you have itchy, red eyes all the time? Could be that you are spending too much time in front of a computer or TV screen. But it could also be that you are showing an allergic reaction to something in the air or on your pillow. If your eyes are not irritated because of reading too much in bad light or staring at a screen all the time, they might be reacting badly to dust particles in the air. Eye allergy often times goes hand in hand with dust allergies and/or pet allergies. Symptoms are pretty straight forward. Seeing as it is all about the eyes, you will show some or all of the following symptoms:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Burning eyes
Allergic Rhinitis, also known as hey fever, is often times associated with the change of the season. Especially when winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer. People get hay fever from airborne spores and pollen that float around in the wind. Symptoms look similar to dust mite allergies:
- Itchy eyes
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy skin
- Feeling drained and fatigued
Mould is that greyish stuff that grows on old bread and food that’s been left in the fridge for a month or two too long. I am sure most of you have seen it at one point or another. But what you haven’t seen (and won’t see if you are not a microbiologist) are mould spores. As implied by the fact that only microbiologists ever get to see it, mould spores are microscopically small! These spores can get airborne and go sit in a humans respiratory system. And once there, they can cause some serious allergic reactions such as:
- Blocked/runny nose
- Blocked sinuses
- Itchy/sore throat
As you can see, a lot of these allergies show similar symptoms! So how should you know which allergic reaction you are showing if you have a runny nose and itchy eyes? It’s not always easy to discern between the allergies, but you can try to figure it out by elimination. For instance, if you don’t have pets and you don’t regularly come into contact with pet owners, you can probably take pet allergies off your list. Similarly, if you live in a dry, warm area, mould is probably not what triggers your allergic reaction. But just to be on the safe side, here are some tips on how to clean your bedroom and get rid of those nasties that might be the reason behind your blocked sinuses.
Keep a dust-free bed
The first thing that you should clean up if you suffer from allergies is your bed. Seeing as humans spend roughly a third of their lives in bed, you might as well keep it clean, right? What’s more, is that dust mites can often be living right inside of your pillows and sheets. And if they live there, well then you are definitely going to breathe them in at night. So make sure that you wash your linen once a week. When you wash the linen, take your pillows and mattress outside and beat out the dust. Leave the mattress, pillows and linen in the dappled shade so that they can aerate and dry out respectively. If your mattress hasn’t had a clean in a while, click here to see how to go about giving it a proper once-over!
If you want to go even further (and we suggest that you do), get a hypoallergenic mattress protector. These mattress protectors are dust and mould resistant, so it protects your mattress from gathering dust! If your mattress doesn’t attract a lot of dust, well then you don’t have to beat the dust out every time you wash your bedding. Also, try out the Linen Company Memory Foam Pillow, which not only provides great sleep comfort but also has some hypoallergenic properties.
Clean your curtains
I know that I am a culprit in this specific area. It is not easy to admit, but I haven’t washed my curtains in more than a year. Shocking, I know! Especially when experts say that you should clean your curtains once every three months. Curtains gather dust at an alarming rate! It makes sense if you think about it. First off, they are in front of windows. Now for those of you that don’t know, windows lead to the outside world. And what comes in from outside? Cats, pollen and dust. On top of this, curtains are all crinkled up most of the time, providing dust plenty of space to settle down and cat hair plenty of fabric to cling to. All of these things might be responsible for your allergies!
However, don’t just take off your curtains and throw them in the washing machine first thing tomorrow morning. A lot of curtains are made out of materials that don’t appreciate being washed in warm water. Like silk or velvet. It is probably for the best if you read the washing instructions that come with the curtains before just putting them in the machine. A lot of curtains needs special attention from a dry cleaner. And if this is the case, don’t hesitate to get them dry cleaned. If you think that it is too expensive, just think of how much money you spend on Allergex, eye drops and tissues every month. Having clean curtains may help you to get rid of those draining allergies!
Vacuum your house on a regular basis
Dust and animal hair can accumulate so quickly! Especially when the seasons change and the wind blows. Therefore it is essential that you vacuum your house on a weekly basis. And make sure to vacuum your bedroom thoroughly each time. Keeping dust content low in your room is one of the surest ways to make sure that your allergies don’t act up. Just keep in mind that when you vacuum, you are helping some dust mites to get airborne. So if you vacuum, do it with a face mask on, so that you don’t breathe in those disturbed dust mites.
Get rid of the clutter
Once again, I am guilty. My bedstand is overflowing with books, magazines and journals. I love reading before hitting the sheets. So what tends to happen is that I read an interesting journal article and then I run to the bookcase down the hall to grab a textbook to check up on a difficult concept in the article. Then once I’m done, I just put the journal and the textbook on the nightstand, switch off the light and go to sleep. Come the morning, I don’t put away the textbook or the journal because I think I am probably gonna use it again. But that night before bed, I read the news on my tablet (which has a blue light filter for pre-bedtime reading) and plop the tablet down on top of the textbook. Man I can tell you, this makes for some serious piles of dust collecting manuscripts. And to make things worse, these piles are about head height if I lie down, so I get to breathe in dust all night long!
But enough about my bad habits! The point of that long discussion was that you shouldn’t do what I do! Once you are done with something, put it back in its place. Make sure that your room is not as cluttered as mine to avoid suffering from allergies.
Ban pets from the bedroom
Oh man, am I stepping on a lot of toes right now (including my wife’s)! I know that this is asking a lot, but try to ban your pets from the bedroom for six weeks. Directly after you banned them, clean your bedroom like you’ve never cleaned it before! Make sure that you get to every nook and cranny. Wash the bedding, the curtains, the carpets and the mattress. Vacuum all the corners and windowsills. Now stay strict with your pets and make sure that they don’t sneak in there when you are not watching. Keep on cleaning the room once a week and see if your allergies are less obvious. If they are, you might want to keep your bedroom pet free. But on the other hand, if you don’t see any distinctive difference, go ahead and invite them back in!
Aerate your bedroom
Even though dust and pollen can come into your room through open windows, it is still important to allow fresh air into your room. Mould loves to grow in stuffy, humid conditions and dust mites thrive on moist air. So throw your windows open every morning when you wake up. Try to create a draught that will allow fresh air to flow freely through the room. This will keep humidity and stuffiness down and decrease the chances of mould growing under the bed or in the dark corners of your closet.
If none of these tips help, go and see a doctor!
Sometimes having an itchy throat is due to allergies, but sometimes it is because you are ill. If your symptoms don’t go away after you’ve tried all of the above-mentioned cleaning techniques, you should go and see your medical practitioner. Maybe you have sinusitus, which is quite common nowadays but can be treated effectively.
PS. I am off to try and convince my wife that we should kick the cats out of our bedroom for six weeks. Wish me luck!