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How dirty is your bedding?

Dirty bedding can cause infections
Dirty bedding can cause infections

Beware the dangers of a dirty and unhygienic bed. According to hygience doctor Dr Lisa Ackerley, if you don’t wash your sheets weekly, you could be putting yourself at risk of serious viruses and infections.

This is true when you consider some of the things you get up to while in bed – apart being our sleeping place, it’s where we make love, work from home, have our meals and don’t forget the pets sometimes join us in bed.

Furthermore, it is important to note that your body hygiene whenever you get into bed has a significant impact on how this all collectively could adversely affect your health.

Here are some of the potential pitfalls:

Germs (bacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses)

There are all kinds of bacteria and fungi that are found on our bodies, which breed and multiply because of the moisture that we generate while we sleep, saliva, fluids, skin cells as well as faeces. They can cause urinary infections, pneumonia and blood stream infections.

Yeast infections

The situation is similar with yeast infections, which multiply under the right conditions – unwashed and unhygienic bedding. Yeast infections can cause problems in folds of skin as well as the groin area. Regular washing a hot temperature is required.

Athlete’s foot

Fungal infections like athletes’s foot are highly contagious and therefore you are likely to get infected if your partner has the condition. and will lurk in the bed amongst other places. Washing the bedding at a high temperature to kill the fungus.

Viruses

Where you have a viral infection, then it is critical that you significantly raise your washing regime for your bedding, in order to help your body fight the infection.

Dust Mites

Each person sheds about 10g of skin a day, which dust mites feed on. When these mites excrete their waste, the excrement causes allergies in some people.

Dust mites breed in those areas that stay undisturbed, for instance, it is thought that 10 per cent of the weight of a two-year old pillow may be composed of dust mites and their droppings.

Simple steps to keep potential infections away from your bed

1. Get rid of the dust by vacuuming everywhere especially under the bed and the mattress; and wash pillows if they are washable.

When you buy new pillows use pillow and mattress protectors that you can wash easily, and regularly spray the mattress with disinfectant.

2. Launder bedding at above 60°C and higher.

3. Preferably launder bedding once a week, or at least every two weeks.

4. Shower before bed or at least, wash your hands before bed time in order to keep the dirt down.

5. Wash nightwear every three days.

6. Use anti-bacterial wipes to clean any spills.

7. Where there is a pet that joins you in bed at night, then get a blanket for them to lie on and wash that every week at least.

8. If someone is ill, then increase the frequency of cleaning and laundering the bedding.

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