These Are the Health Risks Lurking in Your Bedroom
Unfortunately, your sanctuary isn't such a sanctuary after all.
Your bedroom should be your safe haven—the place where you kick back and get some rest without any stressors or worries. Well, we're sorry to tell you this, but if you're anxious about germs, your bedroom isn't quite the sanctuary you thought it was. The truth is, your bedroom is a veritable breeding ground for all manner health risks, from those you've no doubt heard of (bed bugs) to those you definitely haven't (a little thing called MSRA). Read on for the particular heath risks lurking in your bedroom that will motivate you to wash your sheets… tonight!
If you think household dust is just a bunch of harmless fuzz, think again. Dust is actually made up a of ton of different microscopic elements, including tiny bugs and dead human skin cells. A lot of people are allergic to dust mites, and they especially notice it when they’re cleaning their bedroom and the dust is disturbed, leading to sneezing and a runny nose.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several ways to reduce exposure to dust mites, including using allergen-proof bed covers, washing your bedding at least weekly, keeping the humidity in the room low, vacuuming regularly, and clearing any clutter that could collect dust.
During outdoor allergy season—essentially, all the time except for the dead of winter—it’s possible for pollen to attach to your hair. And when you hop into bed without washing your hair first, all that pollen on your head jumps on to your pillow, the thing you spend hours putting your face on each night. So, unless you plan on diligently washing your hair before bed every night, this is just one more reason why you need to change your pillow case immediately.
Mold Allergies and Asthma
Sure, mold mostly springs up in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. But if your house is damp enough, it can grow anywhere—including your bedroom. Per the folks at Tuck, a sleep research firm, mold thrives where there's wallpaper. So your bedroom décor might be the culprit of your symptoms of mold exposure, which include watery, itchy, or red eyes; wheezing, sneezing or coughing; a runny nose; or a skin rash.
We've all woken up with a mysterious bite and wondered what creatures are lurking in our bedrooms. Chances are, the little red bumps you have are not from spiders; they're either stings from other arthropods, like fleas, or, far more innocently, a result of a chemical reaction, Chris Buddle, Ph.D., an arachnologist at McGill University, told LiveScience. The solution? It's simple: Wash your sheets!
Once these unwanted bedfellows make their into your home, good luck getting them out. Unfortunately, you can pick up bed bugs literally anywhere, but, according to the National Pest Maagement Association, hotels are the most common culprits. Once inside, bed bugs “make themselves at home in your home and at night they will bite you leaving red itchy bumps on your skin,” says David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
Colds and the Flu
If someone in your household—a roommate, a partner, a child—comes down with something, there's a good chance you'll catch it, too. As Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s, notes, cold viruses—like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinovirus—can easily bounce from surface to surface across your home. Seeing as you spend the most time in your bedroom (hopefully at least eight hours a day), it's natural to assume that space might be the most germ-laden. The moment someone gets sick, there's only one thing to do: Start cleaning!
Sideswiped by a sudden acne breakout? Blame your pillowcase (and then run it through the wash). "Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face,” David E. Bank, MD, director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, told HuffPost. “When your pillowcase isn't laundered or changed regularly, a build-up of dirt and oil from the environment as well as your skin and hair touching the pillow is transferred back to your skin. This can clog pores and cause blemishes."
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease
If you’re around kids, you’ve probably heard of (and are terrified of) hand, foot, and mouth disease. This viral infection results in a rash and, according to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, it's extremely contagious. If you have little ones that come down with it, make sure to sanitize the house, including all the bedrooms, and commonly touched places like door knobs.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—better known as MRSA—is a type of bacteria that can cause a variety of infections, including abscesses on the skin, Ganjian explains. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA can survive on surfaces like towels and furniture for hours, days, or even weeks. Aside from washing your hands, the best way to stop the spread of MRSA is by using cleaners and disinfectants on any surfaces in a bedroom that are touched a lot—like door knobs, light switches, and closet doors.
Spend a bunch of time in bed—whether because of an illness, an injury, or a few really bad days—and you run the risk of developing bedsores. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores are ulcers that form on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or wearing a cast for a prolonged period of time. Bedsores can be prevented by ensuring that a person turns and is repositioned in bed every two hours, and taking care of their skin by keeping it clean and dry. And to get as cozy on your mattress as possible, learn about these 15 Genius Tricks for Getting More Comfortable in Bed.
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