Buying Guides Hypoallergenic Mattress Types

Published on September 24th, 2013 | by tmgadmin

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Hypoallergenic Mattress Types

If you suffer from skin or environmental allergies, choosing from hypoallergenic mattress types may help reduce symptoms and provide better sleep. Certain types of memory foam mattresses, natural latex mattresses and waterbeds might be worth considering for allergy sufferers. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of hypoallergenic mattress alternatives compared to the standard spring bed.

Worst Mattress Types for Allergies

The number one household allergen in the bedroom are dust mites. Because they feed of shed skin cells, mattresses are often prime real estate for dust mite colonies, collecting live mights, dead mights, and their droppings. For those who are allergic to dust mites or have respiratory sensitivities, these mights can cause sneezing coughing, eye watering, skin irritation, disrupt sleep, and may even irritate asthma. Mattresses with open spaces are most hospitable to dust mites, making traditional innerspring mattresses most susceptible. These types of beds have springs, coils and sometimes pocketed springs covered by layers of foam and fibers. Beds with fluffy fiber pillowtops can also be susceptible to mites and dander.

Mold is another significant household allergen. When moisture from sweat, humidity, or spills accumulates within some types of fabrics and fibers, the potential for mold or mildew exists, and can create a significant health concern. The fabrics and fibers within spring mattresses are susceptible to mold, as are air bed mattresses and softside waterbeds (moisture may accumulate on inner components), and some types of foam mattresses when wet.

Hypoallergenic Mattress Types: Memory Foam, Natural Latex and Waterbeds

A healthy hypoallergenic mattress will resist both allergens and bacteria from building up. Compare the materials and details of these allergy-friendly mattress types to see which might be best for your situation.

Natural Latex Mattresses

Natural latex mattresses are considered one of the top hypoallergenic mattress types. Latex foam proves highly resistant to mold and dust mites, while providing comfort, durability and support. Natural latex mattresses are created using liquid latex from rubber trees which is whipped into a foamy mixture and then finished using either the Dunlop or Talalay method.  The resulting cell structure offers resilience, support and effective pain relief. Synthetic latex and blends may provide some benefits like durability and resiliency, but 100% natural latex remains best for people with chemical sensitivities. Natural latex beds are also often combined with hypoallergenic cover materials like organic cotton and natural wool. For those with latex allergies: the manufacturing process removes the proteins responsible for contact allergies and should not pose an allergic risk. The FDA (responsible for monitoring reports of consumer problems and reactions) has no documented cases of latex mattresses causing latex allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock. Nonetheless, if you have a known latex allergy you may want to obtain a sample of the foam before purchasing to test for reactions, or opt for another mattress type.

An article from ConsumerMattressReports.org recently natural latex mattress brands, with 100% natural options including Astrabeds, FloBeds, PlushBeds, and SavvyRest.

Healthy Memory Foam Mattresses

High-quality memory foam mattresses can be an excellent choice for allergy sufferers do to the cellular foam structure which reduces dust mites and resists mold. However, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the foam and its source to ensure that you are purchasing a healthy mattress that is high quality and devoid of harmful chemicals. Memory foams are usually innocuous, but could pose an issue when they include certain types of chemicals. Many of the most dangerous ones have been voluntarily banned by US manufacturers, but imports may not follow the same rules.  Chemically-sensitive people may experience side-effects like headaches or breathing difficulties from beds with strong odors and off-gassing, so this could be another concern. Plant-based memory foams reduce petroleum content and may have more environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Shoppers can also check for CertiPUR certification, which is awarded by an independent organization to polyurethane foams with low-VOC levels that have also been tested for formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons, pthalates, heavy metals, PBDEs and more. Memory foam can provide exceptional pressure point relief and allergy-friendliness,  but if you are concerned about chemicals, check with manufacturers for ingredient information and read reviews for reports of reactions.

A few brands offering CertiPUR-certified memory foam mattresses include Amerisleep (plant-based memory foam), Simmons CURV (regular/gel), and BedInABox (regular/gel).

Waterbed Mattresses

With waterbed mattresses, the filling is composed of water which leaves few places for allergens to hide. Frequent cleaning of the vinyl exterior and use of water treatment additives help prevent mold and mildew as well. While bedding and mattress pads can still be susceptible, they may be removed and washed. While waterbeds can be good for reducing allergens, they also have a few issues like a lack of support and the possibility of leaks. If you are considering a waterbed, opt for a wave-less or baffled model that can help improve supportiveness.

Leading waterbeds brands include Strobel, Boyd, American National and Innomax.

Hypoallergenic Mattress Comparison

  Innerspring Natural Latex Memory Foam Waterbeds
Hypoallergenic Materials Maybe Usually Usually Yes
Dust Mite susceptibility High Moderate-Low Moderate-Low Low
Mold Resistance Low High High Moderate
Easy to Clean? No Yes Somewhat Yes
Longevity 5-6 years 10+ years 7-10 years 5-8 years
Owner Satisfaction 62% 85% 82% 79%


Tips for Maintaining a Hypoallergenic Mattress

No matter which type you choose, it is also important to follow a few key rules for keeping allergens out of your bed and maintaining a hypoallergenic mattress.

  1. Use a hypoallergenic mattress cover that prevents both dust mites and liquid from reaching your mattress. This helps protect your investment and keep your bed clean and healthy.
  2. Prevent spills. Even the most hypoallergenic fabrics can get mildew, and liquids can affect the longevity of foam beds. Avoid drinking and eating in bed, and take care of any accidents immediately, allowing your bed to dry completely before putting covers back on.
  3. Give Fido and Fluffy their own beds. Pets can bring all kinds of dirt, allergens, mites, and bodily functions  into your bed, so it usually best to provide them their own comfy place to rest.
  4. Wash all bedding in hot water at least once a week.
  5. If you use fiber pillows, wash these often as well and replace every few months.
  6. Using allergen proof pillow covers in addition to a mattress cover can help further reduce allergens.

Allergies can be exacerbated by pet dander, dust mites, mold and bacteria that exist throughout our homes. Nearly one-fourth of Americans suffer from allergies with two-thirds of that group having allergies to dust mites. Allergy sufferers may or may not also suffer from asthma and related breathing problems, but for those who do, exposure to allergens can trigger or prolong an attack. If you often awake with itchy eyes, a sore throat or other allergic symptoms, replacing your old, infested mattress with a healthier, hypoallergenic mattress can make a big change to your quality of sleep. Choosing mattress covers, pillows, and bedding that are hypoallergenic and bacteriostatic are all helpful preventive measures as well. Natural latex mattresses, memory foam and waterbeds are the best hypoallergenic mattress options available, though the best bed for you will depend on specific allergy concerns and comfort preferences.

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