Think twice before sleeping on that hand-me-down mattress

Mattress education
Picture of hand holding reading glasses on bed indicates someone who has fallen asleep whilst reading

You might have heard the old story that an old mattress is so full of dead bugs, their poop, old skin, bodily fluids and oils that it will be double its original weight. Yuck!

It would be great to pass that one off as an urban myth but according to scientists at the University of Ohio, it could be true.

“A typical used mattress may contain up to 10 million mites and their skin casings and excrement” an entomologist at the University reports. “Couple that with loads of old human skin and bodily fluids and the mattress could indeed be twice as much as it originally weighed”.

Who loves to snack on all of that gross stuff in an old mattress? Dust mites.

These little critters thrive in old mattresses, even one that has been kept clean and used with a mattress protector. Since dust mites are the second leading cause of allergies such as asthma, eczema and dermatitis, an old mattress can make you quite sick.

The American College of Allergies & Asthma recommends that you never give your old mattress to someone who suffers from Asthma or any type of skin allergy. Even if a person doesn’t suffer from these illnesses, sleeping on old mattresses riddled with dust mites can bring on sneezing, itchy or runny nose, itchiness, wheezing or tightness of the chest and itchy, watery eyes.

Unfortunately, dust mites are almost impossible to avoid. If you live in a home with humans or animals, then dust mites will be living here with you as well.

Keeping dust mites to a minimum involves washing your bedding regularly, avoiding plush wall-to-wall carpets, using blinds instead of drapes and keeping soft furnishings or soft toys to a minimum. And, replacing your mattresses every 6 – 8 years. 

The University of Ohio recommends that you replace your mattress regularly in order to keep dust mite populations down. “Once an old mattress is full of dust mites, there is no way to eradicate them completely”.

“You simply need to replace your mattress”.

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