Are you or your family allergy sufferers? My family is. Seth is the worst with it. Both Bryce and Seth have had allergy testing done, and while I'm very, very grateful that they don't have to deal with any food allergies, both tested quite high for outdoor allergens and dust. Dust! Hahaha!! If you know me fairly well, you know that...well, I'm not necessarily the 'queen of clean' so to speak, so suffice it to say there's a fair amount of dust floating in my house. When I got the report of the boys allergies, it was a bit disheartening. Until the allergist explained to me that really, everyone has allergies to various things, we just all have a different level of tolerance to the allergens we come in contact with daily. He said it's like we all have a 'bucket' of allergens, and we don't really demonstrate 'symptoms' until our bucket is full. Then, when we 'overflow' we experience a variety of reactions. For my boys, it's mainly coughing, and we are wondering if Bryce's struggle with migraines is also allergy related.
The allergist gave me a very simple idea to try to reduce the amount of 'build-up' in the boys 'buckets'. He said that the worst influx of allergens (especially for those who suffer dust allergies) is while we sleep. Mattresses, and most especially OLD mattresses (of which all the ones in our house are) are filled with dust mites...no matter how much of a clean freak (or not) you are. They simply are there. They also build up in carpet, big time, even if you vacuum regularly. Here's a lovely little tid-bit the doctor shared with me; when a carpet is removed that is 6-7 years old, it weighs at least 50% more than when it was put in, all because of the junk that builds up deep down in the fibers. Blech. That made me want to tear out all my carpet! (Of course, thinking of my tootsies hitting that cold hardwood floor on winter mornings has caused me to not really do anything about it as of yet...). Anyway, back to that tip...the allergist recommended that rather than rush out and buy new mattresses (though, I'm adding that to my mental list of goals...new mattresses all around) he said to go buy an allergen mattress encasement. It goes completely around the entire mattress, zips closed and keeps all those nasty dust mites and allergens inside, away from the little nasal passages sleeping atop them for hours at a time, formerly flooding their allergy buckets. He said that, while they will still be allergic to all the outside allergens, their buckets won't be as full from the dust mite issues, and so it may greatly reduce the symptoms from their other triggers.
I finally went and got the mattress covers yesterday and put them on. I'm really anxious to see how much effect it has. It all made sense to me, and seemed like an easy fix...and a much better solution than an allergy pill every day...so I'll keep you posted to see how much difference I notice over the next few weeks. Maybe if it turns out fantastic, it will be helpful tip for you or someone you know!