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What Kind of Pillows Are Recommended by Allergists?

By Derek Smith ; Updated June 13, 2017

For allergy sufferers, using the incorrect pillow can cause many sleepless nights full of red, runny eyes and nasal congestion. A variety of manufacturers have created allergy-friendly pillows. These pillows do not attract dust mites, which are the leading cause of all household allergies. Allergists recommend different pillows for allergy sufferers, depending on exactly what the allergy is.

House Dust and Dust Mites

House dust can cause allergies to act up, especially in severe cases of house dust. According to Net Wellness, an information website jointly run by the University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University, household dust is the leading cause of sneezing and sniffling. House dust can carry a variety of particles such as mold, pollen, pet dander, human dander and cockroach waste. Dust mites are microscopic creatures that look spider-like. Dust mites love to burrow in carpet, upholstered furniture, blankets, pillows, curtains and mattresses. Dust mites like to feed off of shed scales from human skin and prefer warm, humid living conditions. The mites produce waste products that can cause severe allergic reactions even after the dust mite has died.

Changing Sleeping Habits

According to the Mayo Clinic, changing sleeping habits can help reduce dust mites and allergies. The steps are quite simple and affordable. The Mayo Clinic suggests choosing bedding that is not wool or down as these types of materials often attract dust mites. Use aids to help eliminate dust mites in bedding such as plastic covers or casings for mattresses and pillows. The plastic helps keep dust mites from settling into the bedding. Wash all bed linens and pillows every week, preferably in hot water of at least 130 degrees F, and toss items into the dryer instead of air drying them.

Pillows That Help Reduce Allergens

A variety of pillows can help reduce or eliminate dust mites. Allergy-free pillows eliminate the need for additional allergy casings and hypoallergenic pillows are available that are machine washable. Hollow fiber pillows also help deter dust mites and are commonly found in allergy-free hotels. Latex pillows also do the job in deterring dust mites and are also anti-microbial and mildew resistant.

Lifestyle Changes

You can help control dust mites by making a few simple lifestyle changes such as dusting with a damp cloth. Dusting with a damp cloth helps trap and lock in the dust mites as opposed to dusting with a feather duster that leaves dust and dust mites floating freely in the air. Vacuum often to reduce dust mites from the carpet and eliminate their waste--HEPA filter vacuums and double-layered microfilter bags work best. Remove all clutter. Dust mites love clutter such as clothes, stuffed animals, magazines, books and newspapers because it gives them a home.

Additional Aids

Since dust mites like to live in areas that have high humidity and warm living conditions, reducing humidity can help tremendously. You can reduce the humidity in the air with a dehumidifier, air conditioning and a hygrometer. Air purifiers can assist in removing some of the dust, pollen and dander in your home. If you buy an air purifier that has a washable filter, wash it frequently while wearing a mask so you don't inhale the allergens you are trying to eliminate. Not all air purifiers have a washable filter and will need to be changed periodically--for these types, refer to the owners manual.

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