If you suffer from asthma, you will have experienced firsthand the breathlessness that occurs when exposure to a trigger or irritant causes the lining of the airways to swell, tightening the muscles and narrowing the airway. While some triggers are impossible to avoid, it is possible to limit your exposure to a few of the more common ones.
A chronic inflammatory disorder, asthma affects the lungs and airways. Symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and tightness of the chest, generally worsen with exposure to irritants. Triggers vary from person to person - respiratory infections, exercise, cold air, smoke, even stress can affect sensitive lungs with airborne allergens such as pollen, dust mites, mould and pet hair some common triggers.
In Australia, the National Asthma Council identifies the most common trigger for allergic asthma as the house dust mite. Their recommendation is to minimise exposure to the mites where possible while actively taking steps to reduce their population. These microscopic critters thrive in warm humid climates, making beds one of the most likely places to encounter them. So when it comes to bedding, what makes wool a good choice?
Wool is hypoallergenic – which means that it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction and the nature of the wool fibre sees it offer many advantages to those who may suffer from asthma or allergies.
Wool creates a dry environment – the wicking ability of wool allows moisture to move through the fibres. With no retained moisture, wool helps to create an environment that is inhospitable to dust mites and inhibits the growth of mould and fungus.
Wool is a natural cleaner – the wool fibre is also able to absorb and trap volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). These airborne toxins may worsen symptoms for asthmatics or those particularly sensitive to chemicals. Wools ability to ‘clean’ these pollutants from the atmosphere has a positive effect on air quality and respiratory health.
Wool loves sunshine – nature’s own antibacterial, sunlight deters the colonisation of dust mites. Wool bedding benefits from regular airing which also helps to reduce mite infestations.
For further protection against allergens, the Asthma Council recommends choosing bedding products that have been manufactured with an antimicrobial treatment like Ultra Fresh.