Every year there are 1000’s of complaints on Mattress related allergies and a small percentage complain about allergy specifically to Memory foam mattresses. Most of these memory foam mattresses were new and some old.
Mattresses over time accumulate a range of particles , from dust, pollen, pet dander and our own skin , hair tissues. Aver time we do get problems with our mattresses. Knowing the signs of these allergies and correcting them as soon as you can will avoid you a lot of sleepless nights.
To begin with, Know the symptoms of allergies.
- Rashes and itching
- Sneezing and coughing
- Runny nose
- Marks on your skin even though there is no itching
If you find any of these signs chances are that you are allergic to something or the other. If you start sneezing in the middle of the night or right when you get into bed, chances are you bed is probably a problem. Dust mites and allergens are on your bed. When you wake up and see rashes on your skin, which was not there last night, then chances are that its because of your bed.
Memory foam mattress are usually free from allergens. There has been little to no evidence on allergens caused by memory foam mattress itself. While many complain of smell (often termed Off-gassing) , These have never been the reason to cause allergies.
The causes for Allergies due to memory foam mattress includes
- Smell (not proven to be a reason)
- Dust accumulation over time
While the smell on the Memory foam mattress will dissipate over 2-3 days, some chemicals which are in the foam itself will create problems to those who are sensitive. If you are sensitive to these chemicals, chances are that you will need a Topper which is free from chemicals. Get a topper which is latex, all natural and free from VOC. An organic topper should keep those chemicals to be in control. Ensure that you use the topper only after 2-3 days after removing the bed from its cover. this insures that the process of off gassing happens over time as expected.
A topper can help if you have dust accumulated on your mattress too. Always ensure that your mattress toppers are all organic and natural. If you can get a GOTS certification, it could be a small assurance of its quality.
Often , people tend to get lesser sleep on a memory foam mattress due to the heat . The heat sometimes does create an itchy feeling and you do lose a lot of sleep. Memory foam mattresses are known to trap heat in the bead due to lesser breathability. This does make the mattress a bit uncomfortable. This could often be mistaken to be an allergic reaction (itchy feeling) but it’s the heat which is the cause.
Your alternatives to Memory foam mattress
If you strongly believe that memory foam mattress is the reason for your Allergy then its time to move on to latex mattress. A talalay Mattress is natural and safe. There is also organic Latex which can give you a peace of mind. Talalay is 100% allergy free and is the preferred mattress for people who suffer from allergies. Try out the Latex for Less mattress for a complete natural mattress option in the latex category.
What to do & Avoid if you think you are allergic to a mattress
- If you have purchased a new mattress, allow it to off-gas for 2-3 days (24 hours recommended by most companies). Do not put a sheet or topper on top of the mattress after unpacking for at least 2-3 days. The smell of the chemicals usually leaves in 24 hours . In 48 -72 hours its entirely gone. You can now put a sheet or topper on based on your preference.
- Use a mattress cover. The cover for a memory foam mattress is not just protection for the mattress. It’s a protection for you too. If the covers are removable, you can wash them when there is a need. This improves the hygiene and keeps your mattress fresh. You will feel it after each wash.
- Avoid pets on your mattress. Its not unusual for pets to sleep with their masters, but pets usually carry a range of things with them From fur to dander. Keep your pets away from your bed at all times.
- Avoid eating in bed. A crumb of food may not look like much, but when it becomes a habit, chances are that your bed will be messy, not just by looks but deep inside too.
- Watch the weather: Humidity is a problem. You could lose your entire mattress in 3-4 days when the humidity is high. Maintain a good dry level in your bedroom at all times. An air purifier and a fan or an air conditioner may help maintain good humidity levels.
A good night’s sleep is what we all yearn for after a busy day. It is estimated that every person spends approximately one-third of his life on the bed. So a good mattress is what everyone would like to invest in. But what if these mattresses are the reason for your sleep getting disrupted and also affecting your health? We will specifically look into the memory foam mattress and its allergic reactions.
What is memory foam and why are they preferred?
Memory foam mattresses are made up of a type of material known as viscoelastic. This material is energy absorbent and also soft and conforms to a person’s body shape. This material is very comfortable when used for mattresses and pillows and hence is preferred by many people. It can distribute heat and pressure evenly and return back to the original shape once we get up.
The main benefit is the comfort that memory foam provides. It also provides support to the body and is helpful for people with back pain and other bodily pain and helps them have a restful sleep.
What are the main Memory Foam Mattress Allergic Reactions and what are its causes?
Many types of mattresses including memory foam mattresses have been linked to many health issues, the chief ones being allergic reactions. Many types of health issues include headaches, itching of the eyes, joint pains, respiratory problems and also skin infections etc. Sometimes dizziness, fatigue, fever sore throat etc. are also experienced. Long term exposure to some of the chemicals in the mattresses can also lead to cancer.
So where do these allergic reactions come from? Most of the earlier day mattresses were made from natural materials which were harmless and allergic reactions if any were caused by only dust mites or mold. The modern day mattresses on the other hand have many toxic chemicals in them. These chemicals are mainly the petrochemicals, flame retardants and other additives. These chemicals are similar to those used in pesticides. A few of these chemicals include boric acid, formaldehyde, zinc borate, vinylidiene chloride, and melamine etc. Some of these chemicals have to be necessarily included in the mattresses to meet the stringent fire proof laws.
Most new memory foam mattresses produce a smell, often called off gassing. This and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are caused when a few chemicals disperse and are emitted to the air are known to have caused allergic reactions to a few people. A suit was filed in the California courts recently against the harmful VOCs emitted by the tempurpedic’s memory foam mattresses and the allergic reactions and complications caused by them.
How to avoid these Memory Foam Mattress Allergic Reactions?
Some of the possible solutions to avoid memory foam allergies are,
- To air all new mattresses or pads to avoid smells or off gassing
- To use natural mattresses or mattresses made by other materials to avoid known allergens
- To look for manufacturing standards and certifications to buy safer mattresses
- Adding a cover to the mattresses to avoid harmful gases and direct contact with the mattress
Most of the leading manufacturers are taking steps to reduce toxics and are using alternate products to reduce toxicity. But it is better to research about the mattress thoroughly before buying them. It is also advisable not to use these mattresses for children. Not much research has been done on mattresses or for its allergic reactions.