Dust mites and newborn allergies – are they really linked?

DID YOU KNOW dust mite excrement inhaled by pregnant women could be the cause of Asthma and Allergies in up to 20% of newborn babies?

do dust mites affect newborn allergies

When you are pregnant you get a lot of advice about the food and beverages you drink. You then take extra precautions. However do you ever think about the air you breathe? Probably not.

In recent years studies have proved just how much of an effect chemicals and substances in the air can have on a growing baby. In particular newborn allergies. For example when babies are exposed to a lot of dust mites in utero, they are more likely to develop allergy problems later on in life. It’s well known that asthma and allergies can be hereditary, but this means general exposure poses similar problems.

But what on earth are you meant to do with this information?

Firstly don’t panic. There are a lot of new considerations when you find out you are pregnant. You really can’t just wrap yourself up in cotton wool for 9 months.

In addition whilst it’s relatively easy to control what you eat and drink, it’s much hard to control what type of contaminants you breathe in. Especially as you can rarely see them or smell them. However you can do small things.  Try to keep your house clean and dusted as regularly as possible during pregnancy. Breathing in dust mites here and there in small volumes during pregnancy will not have an effect, so just try keeping dust to a minimum.

In addition as it gets closer to birth and you are less comfortable or mobile, ask for help. Friends, family, paid cleaners during this time will provide peace of mind. This is especially during that nesting phase as you are getting your home environment ready for the new baby.

Finally, regular vacuuming of your mattress and surrounding environment is a fantastic way to keep on top of dust. We recommend a quick hoover every time you change your sheets or clean your bedroom. However it’s fair to say domestic vacuums are not generally strong enough to really remove the inner dirt. This is the stuff that gets disturbed each night as you sleep. Kicked up into the air and breathed in. So if you want more reassurance and real peace of mind you will need a professional service . The Fresh Sleep mattress cleaning process will eliminate the dirt you can’t see from your mattress.  Our promise it to, leave your or your new babies bed fresh and completely sanitised to a medical standard.

For more information and a video about allergy and asthma during pregnancy, visit http://www.acaai.org/pregnancy or give The Fresh Sleep Company a call on 01905 676100 to see how we can help in the run up to birth.

Source data : MM Hagendorens et al: Prenatal Exposure To House Dust Mite Allergen, Cord Blood T Cell Phenotype And Cytokine Production And Atopic Dermatitis During The First Year Of Life. Pediatric Allergy Immunology Volume 15 Issue 4 pp. 308-315 August 2011

 

Clean sheets are the secret to happiness in life…

Fresh clean sheets

Despite the fact 3.8% of people in the UK say they only wash their bed linen once a year (seriously!) and 21% once a month, jumping onto clean sheets has been voted No. 1 of the top 50 luxuries we Brits value the most.

The little luxury survey..

A survey asked 2000 people to name their favourite little luxury in life and freshly made sheets topped the list. The findings change between men and women, young and old but one thing is clear. It isn’t the expensive luxuries that bring the most happiness, but the simplest things in life that are the best. Even the best gadgets that money can’t buy, don’t beat a good old book or a luxurious dip in the bath.

Top 50 life’s little luxuries

  1. Freshly laundered bed linen
  2. Time to read a good book
  3. Getting a takeaway
  4. Having a long soak in the bath
  5. A fresh haircut
  6. A cosy night in
  7. A short break in a hotel or B&B
  8. Watching the sunset/sunrise
  9. A lunch date with a friend
  10. When someone makes you a nice cup of tea/coffee
  11. Receiving a bouquet flowers
  12. Five minutes to yourself
  13. Luxury quilted toilet paper
  14. Catching your favourite film on TV
  15. A glass of champagne
  16. Getting your car valeted
  17. Buying fresh artisan bread
  18. Using a premium perfume/cologne/fragrance
  19. Having a manicure
  20. Going to the theatre
  21. Receiving breakfast in bed
  22. Enjoying a fine wine / whiskey
  23. Buying tickets to a concert
  24. Buying yourself flowers
  25. Leaving work half-an-hour early
  26. Receiving a hand-written letter
  27. Keeping an empty seat beside you on public transport
  28. Getting tickets to a sporting event
  29. A picnic
  30. Buying new makeup
  31. Paying for someone to clean your home
  32. Hitting the snooze button
  33. Applying a face mask
  34. Ordering the most extravagant dessert on the menu
  35. When the clocks go back
  36. Hearing your favourite song on the radio
  37. Having a blow-dry
  38. Finding a plug socket on public transport
  39. A lazy bike ride
  40. Ordering the most expensive main course on the menu
  41. Skipping the ads on YouTube videos
  42. Splashing out on expensive toiletries
  43. Spending time away from your phone
  44. Buying a new candle
  45. Reading a magazine
  46. Getting a ride in a sports car
  47. An extra shot in your coffee
  48. Upgrading to premium seats at the cinema
  49. Being invited to corporate hospitality
  50. Getting 4G coverage unexpectedly

Why do we all love that clean sheet feeling?

In other surveys asking about your favourite feel-good moments, fresh sheets top the list once again. So what is it about a clean sheet that makes it so special?

In some ways it is human nature. We all feel more comfortable or have a pleasant feeling when we are clean. In fact a whopping 75% of people say they get a better night sleep with clean sheets as they feel more comfortable. It is not that surprising, as we are programmed to associate cleanliness to a safe, healthy environment. Just knowing we are sleeping on clean sheets, can be a powerful motivator.

However there are other factors. It could also be the scent of our favourite washing powder, reinforcing our experience and creating a trigger for that feel good factor each time we jump onto clean sheets.

What is your little luxury in life? Do you love the feeling of clean sheets and does it give you a better night’s sleep? Tell us what makes it so special for you…

10 questions (you wish you had never asked) about dust mites!

Dust mites are invisible without a microscope. So tiny you wouldn’t even know they are there. But they are. Hundreds, thousands even million of them in your bed and other furniture. But are they actually bad for your health? Is it worth trying to get of them? Here are 10 of the most common questions asked about the little blighters.

1. What are dust mites?

House dust mites are tiny animals. Not to be confused with bed bugs, they are not insects but are actually related to spiders. They are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

2. Where do they live?

They are all around us, although beds are a prime habitat with between 100,000 to 10 million living inside every one. They can only survive in humid environments, so our sweaty beds are their perfect hiding place!

3. What do they eat?

They feed on dead skin that humans shed every day. Over a year this adds up to about 3kg per person!!

4. Are they dangerous?

BBC News has previously referred to dust mites as ‘one of the UK’s top man killers!’. The truth is, they do not bite or cause direct harm but they can still cause problems. Their droppings contain a protein which when breathed in or touched may cause allergic symptoms such as eczema, sneezing, itchy and a running nose.

5. Are only humans affected by dust mites?

Nooooo. Our 4 legged friends can be affected too! Up to 80% of allergic cats and dogs are also sensitive to them. Symptoms include itching, ear inflammation, rashes and skin lesions.

10 questions about dust mites
The teeny tiny dead skin eating dust mite that lives in your bed!

6. Can they live on humans?

They can leave red marks especially if you suffer from a skin condition. However the good news is dust mites cannot live on humans and are not known to transmit disease.

7. Are they visible to the human eye?

They are super small – around 0.33mm. They cannot be seen and the bites cannot be felt (unlike bed bugs but that’s another story!).

8. Do they only live in dirty houses?

Sadly not. Dust mites love a clean house just as much as a less clean house. They sneak into soft furnishings and love a good bed.

9. Will a dust mite proof mattress protector save me from dust mites?

Sometimes this will be recommended if you suffer from allergies. However, they won’t massively remove your symptoms as all your bedding needs to be dust mite proofed too.

10. How can I tell if I am allergic to dust mites?

If you are allergic it is likely you will experience the common symptoms like sneezing, running nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, nasal congestion or cough. However to officially validate your allergy you have an expert take skin prick tests or RAST tests on a blood sample.

So if you have not thought too much about dust mites before, there is probably now one more question you want to know. How do I get rid of them?! Even though home cleaning practices can’t eliminate them totally from your mattress, The Fresh Sleep Company can. We specialise in providing an eco-friendly, dry process that destroys and remove all organic debris including dust mites, bacteria, viruses, mould and fungi. For more information, take a look at how it works here . Alternatively give us a call on 01905 676100 and we can answer all your questions.

What do you see?

In many countries around the world, like the USA, Australia, UAE & much of Asia, mattress cleaning & sanitisation is well understood.

Yet here in the UK we tend to change our sheets without dwelling on what we are really sleeping on. At best, we use mattress protectors and maybe even the occasional vacuum. But we rarely pull back the sheets and take a good look at our mattresses or think about the dirt we can’t see. At least not until it’s too late and it’s time to replace them.

Why is the UK different?

There are many reasons. Culture… climate… but mainly it is due to the fact there isn’t a service that has been  truly available and visible in the UK.  Most companies that can clean mattresses aren’t specialists. They often use a similar, if not the same, process and chemicals as cleaning carpets. In addition, UK consumers tend to only reach out when there has been an accident or extreme circumstance. There needs to be a visible problem. Our own research supports this. In our recent survey of 150 people , 90% say they have never thought about having their mattress cleaned or sanitised.

When you see the dirt – you can’t go back!

Yet over 50% of those same people were interested in mattress cleaning when the potential benefits were explained to them. That number rose even further when they could physically see the dirt that come out of what seems like a relatively clean mattress. Finally once you have actually experienced sleeping on a truly clean mattress, you will never go back to the way it was before.

So that’s how The Fresh Sleep Company began

No matter how well you clean, it is not possible to eliminate the germs and hidden dirt from your mattresses with DIY approaches. They may look clean but bacteria and viruses dwell after colds. Mould and fungi grow through the humidity and warmth of our bodies.

Fresh bedroom hidden dirt
WHAT YOU SEE

vs

dust mites dirt you can't see
WHAT WE SEE

The Fresh Sleep company’s mission is simply to provide a better, healthier sleep environment for all. We do that with a totally chemical free, technologically advanced process that both cleans AND sanitises.

Definition of CLEAN

Make clean; remove dirt, marks, or stains from.

  • ‘clean your teeth properly after meals’
  • ‘I cleaned up my room’

Definition of SANITISE

Make clean and hygienic; disinfect.

  • ‘new chemicals for sanitising a pool’

Unlike other mattress cleaners we have sourced the best technology from around the world. We have ensured we are eco friendly / chemical free. But most importantly we have created an incredible probiotic finishing mist that not only smells incredible, but keeps working once we have gone.

To experience a new cleaning ritual that you will love for a healthier, happier & more comfortable night sleep just give us a call on 01905 676100 or email us at info@freshsleep.co.uk for all your questions answered.

 

Mattress stains: Normal or nasty?!

An average person spends a third of their life in bed. As a result no matter how well you look after your mattress, it is likely to become stained or discoloured at some point. Even mattress protectors (depending on the type you use and how often you change them) cannot prevent all dirt penetrating. Plus let’s face it, accidents always seem to happen when they aren’t being used.

Understanding what has caused the stain, how long it has been there and the type of material it is on is key to successfully removing or reducing it without damaging the mattress. It goes without saying, the earlier you treat any mattress stains the easier it is to get them out.

THE 4 MOST COMMON MATTRESS STAINS

SWEAT

An average adult produces around 285ml of sweat every night (and even more when you are ill or experiencing hormonal flushes). This can penetrate deep into the fabric of the mattress. It creates unsightly familiar yellow halos on the mattress cover, alongside a musty type of smell. It can take you by surprise as often it builds up gradually. Good cleaning practices, like mattress protectors and regularly changing bedding, can keep it in check. However specialist treatments like our Fresh Sleep enzyme wash, will target and gently degrades the organic material.

BLOOD

It is an unfortunate truth of life that mattresses often get stained with blood. If this does happen making sure you treat it quickly is really helpful before it gets set into the mattress. In addition with blood stains if you are going to clean it up at home remember – never rub the area. Simply blot any mattress stains as rubbing pushes the blood into the mattress fibres. Also never apply hot water as this can set the stain into the mattress making it much harder to remove. A general clean will rarely remove stains of this sort, especially if they are not fresh. These, more often than not, will require specialist spot treatment.

URINE

For anyone with kids or pets, urine accidents are inevitable. But when it takes place on a bed, it can be a real pain to clean up. This is especially true if you don’t find out about it until a later stage. Like sweat, over time these accidents cause the yellowy-brown discolouration of the surface and unpleasant odours if not properly removed. Memory foam mattresses can  even act like a giant sponge sucking the urine inside the mattress. Once inside, it is tough to remove as adding more water makes drying out the mattress even harder.

Since the urine itself is made up of uric acid crystals (a protein material), normal cleaners just won’t do the job. Instead, if you are going to tackle it properly, you need the right enzymes to bind with and destroy it . These are available online to buy but there are  differences between human and pet urine and so it is worth checking what stains they deal with. In addition bear in mind many cleaning products are mixed with peroxide and other chemicals that may just bleach the mattress rather than actively removing the stain.

Finally to prevent urine stains on kids beds, waterproof mattress protectors can be fantastic. Lots of mums swear by layering a protector under a sheet than another protector and sheet. This means that in the case of an accident the top 2 layers can be swiftly removed so everyone can get back to sleep. Just remember to change them regularly to avoid a build up of humidity within the mattress a result of the waterproof barrier. Plus most importantly if an accident does happen,  replace it immediately so that the urine doesn’t creep into the mattress through the sides.

Yellow discolouration from urine mattress stains

 

 

A single accident if left can end up looking like this. However if dealt with early, it can be removed, saving the cost of replacement

VOMIT

Have you ever been through that terrible night when your child (or loved one) went sick suddenly all over the bed? After the initial shock you realise the vile liquid is soaking straight into your bed. Whilst it is easy to change the bedding, getting rid of the lingering smell (and resultant mattress stains) can be impossible. As with other stains the smell will arise from the moisture. Getting rid of as much as possible quickly is key by carefully blotting up the fluid. Again whilst it is particularly tempting, never dump water straight onto the mattress to wash it out for all the reasons shared before.  For lingering mattress stains like this, the Fresh Sleep sterilisation process in particular the GUV and super-heated dry steam is fantastic. This will ensure all organic matter is destroyed and any lingering odours completely removed.

HOW CAN MATTRESS STAINS BE REMOVED?

It is often challenging to remove mattress stains like this by yourself without the specialised equipment or cleaning materials. Almost all of the most effective DIY cleaning solutions (of which there are many!) require either harsh chemicals or water. Once water penetrates inside a mattress, it is incredibly hard to effectively dry it before problems occur like mould and mildew. This will then result in even more odours and increased contaminants. Even rubbing, using the wrong solution or too warm water can actually bond the stain to the mattress, making it tough to remove or even worst can even degrade the mattress material over time.

INTRODUCING FRESH SLEEP MATTRESS CLEANING

As a result we have developed The Fresh Sleep Valet to avoid all of these pitfalls. In less than 45 minutes we will ensure anything that is lurking on or inside the mattress is neutralised without chemicals or water. Each stage of the process deals with different elements of the problem. From the visible mattress stains on the surface to the hidden dirt and odours. We always make sure you are left with a bed that is sanitised to medical standards smells even fresher than when you first bought it!

Sadly we cannot guarantee that all visible staining can be removed in a single treatment. Responding quickly to accidents will definitely help. However we can guarantee that we will fully sanitise the mattress. This ensures that all bacteria, allergens, mould viruses etc is safely eliminated.

What is your experience with dealing with stains? Is there a treatment you swear by? Tell us your thoughts here.

Sleep is for wimps, right? WRONG!

Woman on laptop relaxed on bed with her dog

You have so many demands on your time that to fit everything in, it is not unusual to sacrifice sleep. Yet a good night’s sleep goes way beyond just boosting your mood or getting rid of the dark circles beneath your eyes. It’s vital for your wellbeing and has been scientifically proven to sit at the heart of a healthy, happy life.  Your body needs a good night’s sleep, just like it needs air and food to function at its best.

Why do I need a good night’s sleep?

On average humans spend nearly a 1/3rd of their life asleep. (Although it’s estimated that a staggering 2/3rds of the world just aren’t getting the sleep they need). During sleep your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain creates new connections and helps memory retention.  Sleep helps you think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. It improves decreases stress, sparks creativity and even helps maintain a healthy weight and emotional stability!

Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. Yawning, excessive sleepiness, irritability and daytime fatigue are all signs of sleep deprivation.  No amount of caffeine can override your body’s profound need for a good night’s sleep. It may feel ok for a while but going without sleep can quickly lead to hallucinations. Over time this will increase your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

 

The stages of sleeping

Whilst scientists don’t know exactly why we sleep , they do know how it works. Basically there are 5 stages of sleep. Stage 1 stage 2 stage 3, stage 4 and REM (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep). These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then again to 1. Non REM sleep (stages 1 to 4 ) is a dreamless sleep. Your breathing and heart rate are slow and regular, blood pressure is low and you are relatively still. During REM sleep, your heart rate and breathing quickens. You can have intense dreams as you brain is more active. Waking may occur after REM sleep and if it is for long enough, you may well remember it.

Typically, you go through 4 to 5 sleep cycles a night with the first one taking about 90 minutes and the rest about 100 to 120 minutes. However the amount of time you spend in each stage also depends on your age. Infants can spend 50% of their time in REM sleep vs 20% for adults which decreases as you get older.

Top tips for better night’s sleep

You may not be able to control the factors that can interfere with your sleep like stress or illness. However you can definitely adopt habits that encourage a better sleep experience.

  1. Keeping in sync with your body’s natural sleep cycle is one of the best ways to help you sleep better. Set your body’s internal clock by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. This is because keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule will help you feel more refreshed and energised than if you sleep the same hours every night but at different times.
  2. Controlling your exposure to light helps to regulate the levels of melatonin. This is the naturally occurring hormone that is secreted when it’s dark and helps make you sleepy.  Spending more time exposed to light early on in the morning and during the day is key. Then eliminating bright screens and back lit devices before bed will keep levels in check.
  3. Timing your exercise right and avoid vigorous workouts at least 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise speeds up your metabolism, elevates body temperature and stimulates hormones such as cortisol. As a result exercising too close to bed can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
  4. Build better food and drink habits. Limit stimulants like caffeine & nicotine throughout the day and avoid heavy meals and alcohol late at night.
  5. Create a better sleep environment by keeping noise down and a ensuring your room is cool and well ventilated. Experiment with mattress toppers or pillows to get the best level of support. Establish a regular cleaning schedule to eliminate the dirt and allergens that you cannot see that have built up in your mattress and bedding over time. This means they can no longer be breathed in.