The Possible Health Risks Of An Old Mattress

3 min read

Last Modified 16 February 2021 First Added 29 June 2016

By Jessica Kadel

Did you know roughly a third of your lifetime is spent in bed? With this being said, your mattress is a fundamental part of your life and due to the amount of time spent on it, can significantly contribute to your wellbeing. The average mattress has a lifespan of roughly 8 years. After this period your beloved bed will start to go downhill and with it, your health. If you have a significantly old mattress, it comes with the potential of quite a few of the following health risks.

Neck or Back Pain

Sadly, even the best of mattresses can lose their oomph eventually. With mattress structures sagging and dipping, your body and pressure points cannot be fully cradled with an old mattress. Regularly sleeping with such a lack of support has the potential to strain your neck and back. It can also disturb a good night’s sleep. Although you can temporarily prolong the life of your mattress by rotating it, in the long run your health will benefit significantly from a new and more comfortable mattress.

To discover which type of mattress is best for your sleeping position and pressure points, and consequently avoid any back pain, see our bed and mattress guide.

An image showing neck pain

Bed Bugs

Unfortunately, bed bugs are a very real threat. They scientifically go by the less catchy name of Cimex lectularius. As your mattress ages, it becomes an ideal habitat for dust mites and bed bugs. Although these little insects usually just give itchy bites, it’s almost impossible to get rid of them without throwing out your mattress altogether. With bed bugs, the signs to look out for are reddish spots on your bed sheets, small red bites on your skin and of course the culprits themselves, which tend to gather along the mattress seams.

Up to an alarming 10 million dust mites can gather in a mattress to feed on dead skin cells. Dust mites tend to cause allergic reactions, which many asthmatic people are more sensitive to. To make sure the bed bugs don’t bite, it’s best to invest in a new mattress and wash your sheets regularly.

Related: How often should you replace your mattress?

An image of a bed bug

Bacteria and Mould

An old mattress not only creates an optimum environment for insects to breed, but bacteria also. A range of pathogenic bacteria and fungi often set up camp in an old mattress. For example, enterococcus, staphylococcus, norovirus and even MRSA, which can lead to skin infections, urinary tract infections and serious viruses.

Mould is also a danger when it comes to old mattresses, especially if your bedroom isn’t well ventilated and susceptible to damp. While most common mould spores are usually harmless, they can trigger allergic reactions. These include coughing, itchy eyes and eczema.

Similarly to the other health risks, if your mattress is growing mould, it’s probably time to replace it. However, short term fixes include drying out and airing the mattress and even getting yourself a dehumidifier.

An image of bacteria

Have you witnessed any of your own mattress horrors? What did you do to tackle them? Let us know in the comments!

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