News | Published March 9, 2014 | Written by Michelle Zook, MD

Is your bedroom making you sick?

With the spring season right around the corner, now is the time to begin allergy-proofing your home, and the bedroom is a great place to start.

Interestingly, recent studies have shown that a large portion of Americans test positive for such indoor allergens as dust, mold, or pet dander, and it’s quite common for these allergens to appear in the bedroom.

Dust mites are the most common indoor allergen. In order to help curb dust mites, hypoallergenic covers for beds, mattresses, box springs and pillows are recommended. It’s also important to use bedding that is washable, rather than quilts, throws, or comforters that cannot be washed. Wash your bedding weekly in hot water to kill dust mites.

According to Michelle Zook, MD, internal medicine, Mount Nittany Physician Group, children’s rooms are important, too. “Many children like to pile stuffed animals on their beds, but dust mites love to hide on them. Try to limit stuffed animals to one or two in the bedroom, and make sure they’re washable.”

As far as pet dander, it’s especially important to keep pets out of the bedroom and out of your bed. Even if you are not allergic to pet dander specifically, pets carry other allergens via their fur, which can present a problem.

If you can keep carpet and thick curtains at a minimum in the bedroom, allergy-inducing triggers can also be minimized. Unfortunately, carpet is a great place for allergens to collect, and floors such as hardwood or laminate are easier to keep clean and allergy-free.

Zook also suggests using an air filter in the bedroom, such as a high-efficiency particulate absorption (HEPA) filter. This does not purify the air, but helps reduce common allergens in the air.

During the heavy pollen season, you may wish to undress in another room and take a shower before bedtime. Pollen easily collects on clothing, and undressing in the bedroom can mean that you’re bringing pollen in the room too.

If these tricks don’t alleviate your sneezing, coughing and itching, it may be time to speak with a healthcare provider. Family physicians or specialists such as immunologists are great starting points.

Mount Nittany Physician Group offers providers who are ready to work with you to solve your allergy woes. With more than 100 providers, 20 specialties and 15 locations, Mount Nittany Physician Group specializes in providing personalized care for every stage of life. Learn more today at