Allergy mattress covers are the last line of defense for many allergy sufferers. They act in two ways: they keep your mattress from collecting allergens (or more allergens if you’ve had your mattress for awhile) and they keep the allergens already in your mattress from getting out where they can disturb your sleep. Allergy covers are a good idea for box springs and pillows too.
Living inside of the safe, warm, moist environment of your mattress is the cause of many a stuffy noise, itchy eyes, hives, and even asthma attacks. The house dust mite (Dermatophagoides farinae) is believed to be the most common cause of allergies and asthma. The allergy-causing enzymes they produce can be smelled most strongly in vacuum cleaner bags. But their favorite home is your mattress.
Allergy mattress covers are designed to block the transmission of dust mites, their feces, and dried body parts from the interior of a mattress to the surrounding air. This is a pretty tough job considering the tiny size of a dust mite; about 420 microns, too small to be seen with the naked eye.
Allergy mattress covers must also protect against release of equally tiny mold spores. They must keep pet dander and pollen out of mattresses. They must do all of this and still “breathe” to let air in and out when a sleeper rolls over.
Many allergy mattress covers do not breathe. They are made of vinyl or another impermeable plastic. They may transfer air only at their zippers, creating a very unsatisfactory sleeping experience. The hiss and slow compression of released air can feel like trying to sleep on top of a leaky balloon. Also, impermeable mattress covers trap perspiration, requiring an absorbent mattress pad on top of the allergy mattress cover.
One breathing allergy mattress cover is sold by AllergySolutions.com. It is made of a 100 percent polyester fabric called Pristine Solution, which is so tightly woven that its average pore size is on 10 microns — about 40 times smaller than a dust mite. Yet Pristine Solution is able to transfer air freely across its entire surface, eliminating the “leaky balloon” feeling and allowing moisture to be wicked away. Pristine can be washed in hot water, and it comes with a lifetime warranty.
This type of microfiber textile is the standard for allergy mattress covers. It eliminates the need for an impermeable membrane. Often, the microfiber barrier layer is topped by a cotton/polyester blend to help wick perspiration away from the skin and provide greater comfort.
Box springs also play host to house dust mites and other allergens. It’s a good idea to enclose your box spring to complete your protection. A vinyl allergy mattress cover suffices for a box spring.
Bed bugs are an uncommon scourge that is making a bit of a comeback in the U. S. of late. Allergy mattress covers made of microfiber material like Pristine Solution will trap bed bugs and their eggs within a mattress. However, an allergy mattress cover will not protect against bed bugs in other parts of the room. Only a professional exterminator can rid a house of bed bugs.
One potential exit for dust mites and other allergens is the zipper. Many allergists recommend taping the zipper shut in order to prevent the escape of allergens via this route. While some allergy mattress cover sellers will be glad to sell you “special” tape, any good two inch wide packing tape will do the job.
An allergy mattress cover is the most recommended treatment for sneezing, watery eyes, and asthma sufferers. It’s a good investment.