BAD ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SEASON AHEAD FOR AUSSIES, SAYS NATIONAL ASTHMA COUNCIL

“Forecast high pollen levels in the air this spring could leave up to seven million Australians who suffer from allergies struggling with sneezing, watery eyes, a running nose and an itchy throat” – National Asthma Council

Australia has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world; approximately one in four children, one in seven adolescents and one in ten adults suffer from the condition.

With spring off to a running start, the National Asthma council urges Australian’s to be prepared, and to take extra care this year.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, this past autumn was wetter than normal, and winter had seen drier-than-average conditions. That makes the coming pollen season a mixed bag across Australia.

Experts are urging the two million Australians affected by the disease to look at their living environment in a bid to increase awareness of how their surroundings can aggravate the condition.

The National Asthma Council says that the best way to manage asthma and allergies this year is to avoid triggers. Keeping an eye out for the distinctive Blue Butterfly, from Sensitive Choice, when shopping can help in the informed purchase of products that help reduce such triggers.

30% of people in Australia are allergic to dust mite allergens found in mattresses, and one of the most common triggers of asthma are dust mites.

Treasure Vellis, a registered nurse with Protect-A-Bed®, says asthma can be triggered by a number of factors, and knowing what these include is important to alleviating symptoms and lessening the impact the condition has on day-to-day life.

“It’s been long proven that asthma can be set off from the continual exposure to dust mite allergens. While mites are not parasitic, each year they are still responsible for up to 60,000 deaths worldwide,” Vellis said.

“One of the primary places dust mites accumulate is in a mattress, with the typical mattress containing anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million mites. At any time, five per cent of these dust mites are alive, and it’s their faecal pellets and the dead dust mites that contain a series of proteins that are highly allergenic for susceptible people, setting off Asthma symptoms and attacks,” continued Vellis.

Vellis said: “Asthma sufferers need to assess the environment they live in as one of the first steps to easing symptoms and see how they can alleviate some of the common asthma triggers. The bedroom should be the first priority.

“Each night we lose, on average, up to one litre of moisture via perspiration. This, combined with the two million skin flakes we shed whilst sleeping every night, plus spills, dust and other fluid deposits creates a multitude of bacteria and fungi within our pillows and mattresses. Dust mites thrive in dark, dense, warm habitats, so mattresses, quilts and pillows serve as a breeding ground for mites. Sufferers need to understand just how big a role the sleep area plays when it comes to their health,” says Vellis.

One simple way people with asthma can keep their bedding free of mites is by using quality waterproof mattress and pillow protectors, such as the Protect-A-Bed® fully encased AllerLock® from Lincraft, which offers the best protection from triggers by stopping them from becoming airborne. Bedding protectors keep the sleep environment allergy-free by creating a barrier between dust mites and other triggers, such as mould and bacteria, frequently found in mattress and pillows.

“To keep the sleep environment clean, and for maximum alleviation of symptoms, the following tips should also be followed,” added Vellis.

  • Vacuum and dust regularly
  • Invest in quality waterproof mattress and pillow protectors
  • Wash sheets frequently
  • Air fabrics in direct sunlight to reduce humidity and dehydrate dust mites
  • Reduce indoor humidity by using dehumidifiers/air conditioners
  • Use hypoallergenic bedding, made from natural materials such as cotton, or Tencel®
  • Wash all bedding monthly in hot water (above 55 degrees) to kill dust mites and remove allergens from fabric
  • Consider a domestic redesign, for serious allergy sufferers, to reduce the available habitat for dust mites. Including the replacement of carpets with vinyl, tiles or bare wooden floors

For more advice on creating a healthy sleep zone, including how to reduce the triggers and symptoms of asthma and allergens, visit www.protectabed.com.au or call 1300 857 123 to speak to Protect-A-Bed’s® registered nurse.