Memory Foam Mattress Allergic Reactions

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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.

    1. Rashes and itching
    2. Sneezing and coughing
    3. Runny nose
    4. 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.

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      The causes for Allergies due to memory foam mattress includes

      1. Smell (not proven to be a reason)
      2. Chemicals
      3. 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.

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        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

        1. 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.
        2. 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.
        3. 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.
        4. 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.
        5. 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.
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        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. 

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        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.

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        Symptoms of a memory foam mattress allergy sufferer

        Most memory foam mattresses will give out a distinctive smell when you open the cover. The smell will remain for a few hours and sometimes up to a day. The process is called off gassing. Memory foam mattress vendors and manufacturers recommend that you leave the mattress unused in an open room for at least 24 hours. Many will require that you leave them for 2-3 days. If you are sensitive to chemicals , you will know it the moment you open the mattress. If you are in the same room for more than a few minutes, your nose will itch, you may start sneezing or feel difficulty breathing. This is normal and most people will not be able to stand the smell of a new mattress because of the chemicals involved. 

        If you start using the mattress after 72 hours and feel any of the symptoms, we recommend that you stop using the mattress and return the product for a refund. Symptoms include

         Sneezing while you are sleeping on the mattress

        1. Irritation in nose or eye
        2. Difficulty breathing
        3. Nausea, Headache
        4. Rashes or itching.

        Most people who use a mattress after 72 hours will have no problems. If you have any of the symptoms, for more than one night chances the mattress has something which your body is not suited for. Rashes are rarely seen on the first night but will occur over a period of 3-4 days and sometimes even earlier. 

        Its safer to return the mattress if its not suitable for you, but in case you are not in a position or situation to return the mattress (you are a guest and the host provides you with a memory foam mattress which you think is a problem) you have various options. Use a thicker sheet to start with. If you can use a mattress protector for the mattress, you may want to get hold of one. Addition of a topper should do the trick too. The important thing is to keep the foam as far away from your body and specially your face.

        Disadvantages of memory foam mattress

        Memory foams are good when it comes to touch and feel. Its conforming and usually relieves pressure evenly. With that said, there are chances that the mattress is uneven or sags a bit, which creates more pressure on some areas. If you mattress is older than 6 years you will see indentation and this is an indication to change your mattress. Latex mattresses on the other hand stay in shape a lot longer. 

        Memory foam mattresses are also hot. If you are a person who have problems with sleeping hot, this may not be the mattress for you. There are gel top memory foam mattresses which can reduce the heat a lot. You may want to consider one of these. Hybrid memory foam mattresses too are a good option. Hybrid mattresses are known to have better airflow which gives an even temperature throughout the night. 

        memory foam pillow allergy symptoms

        Common Symptoms of allergy to Memory foam includes

        1. Nausea
        2. Irritated nose
        3. Rashes and itching
        4. Dizziness

        If you have any of these symptoms, you need to leave the mattress alone for a few hours and if possible a day or two before you go back to it. Chances are one or more chemicals in the mattress is irritating you. Leaving the mattress to off gas should most often do the job. Ensure that the windows / doors to the room where you have the mattress is well ventilated. Leaving a mattress to off gas in a closed room really doesn’t do much to help. If you feel the symptoms of allergy even after 2 days of opening the mattress, we recommend that you be ready to replace or return the mattress when the time comes. Usually, a mattress can only be returned after 30 days of using it. There are times when you can return the mattress early. Check the terms of returning the particular brand of mattress.

        memory foam health risks

        There are a few health risks you may pose when it comes to Memory foam mattress. The health risk usually involves the process of manufacturing practices. All mattress in the USA are manufactured in strict guidelines and follow a standard. They avoid all chemicals which are hazardous. Its almost impossible to list all the chemicals which are hazardous in the process of manufacturing a mattress and you can be sure that some chemicals which are hazardous (most of them in the gray area) are still not n the list.  Most carcinogens are on the list and you can be sure that there are not many carcinogens. 

        Specific health risks to a memory foam mattress over the period of time includes those related to respiratory problems. Most mattress accumulate dust over a period of time and this puts you at risk of respiratory health risks including Asthma, skin and nasal irritation. Very few mattresses have been known to have risks of fatal diseases like cancer.

        Memory foam mattress good or bad

        Memory foam mattresses are not allergic or bad for more than 98% of people who use it. As a matter of fact, memory foam is used in some form or other in products you have never thought possible. Chances are , your sofa, cushioned chairs or even your shoe has memory foam on it. Are you allergic to them? Do you find comfortable sitting in your car and have no problems with the memory foam on your car seat if it has one? Chances are you never knew that it was already there. Memory foam is one of the few excellent products which can be comfortable for most people. Very few people find the product itself bad. When it comes to mattresses, memory foam mattresses are good for a period of time. If you are using a mattress for a longer period of time, chances are, the mattress has indentations and has worn out. A memory foam mattress which is worn out will usually pose a problem to your back. You will find the mattress uncomfortable and over a period of time, will give you back problems. Ensure your mattress is in good shape. If you mattress is old, change it. If you dont, you can be sure that it will be a reason for complaint.

        Can you get a rash from a mattress?

        There is a good chance of getting a rash from a memory foam mattress. The chances are just as high in any other mattress which sleeps hot. The rashes are the results of poor aeration in a mattress. Air mattress with rubbery surfaces, poor quality protectors are common reasons for rashes in most people. If the mattress surface is not breathable, the chances of your skin trapping air and heat between the mattress and your skin is high. The heat often results in small rashes in your skin. Using a good cover and a breathable protector could usually be a good solution. If you sleep hot on a mattress, you may want to consider replacing your mattress or adding a gel topper to cool the mattress to your liking. This could reduce heat and relieve you from rashes and skin related problems. Rashes are also common in mattresses which has accumulated dust. 

        Is memory foam carcinogenic?

        As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of chemicals which go into the process of manufacturing a mattress and this includes some carcinogens. Many of these carcinogenic chemicals used in the process of manufacturing a mattress are now regularized and standardized. Today most of the known chemicals which are carcinogenic are not allowed in the manufacturing of a mattress. With that said, there are still a lot of unknown and untested chemicals which may have long term problems .

        Are memory foam beds toxic?

        All foam mattresses has polyurethane as a base. The product is is a petrochemical which usually has not reactions in its natural state. You could use the product safely. Its the process of manufacturing the mattress which makes the product toxic . Creating a memory foam usually involves making the foam denser by adding a few chemicals. The foam is then glued together in a specific manner to meet the needs of the company and then put one layer on top of another in a mattress cover before its a final product. Its not just the foam which could be toxic, but a lot of other chemicals involved in the process of manufacturing the mattress. The glue involved in stacking the mattress. The chemicals used to clean the foam and all the other chemicals involved to create the foam itself are toxic. These chemicals usually air out after a day or two, but yes, there are chemicals which are toxic in your memory foam bed. If you are looking at a mattress which is not toxic and is 100% natural, be sure that you check out some of the mattress which are labeled organic or natural. These mattresses use good manufacturing process and ensure that they use as little chemicals to manufacture these mattresses. Some of these mattresses are heavily priced as it hand crafted. 

        You can also be sure that most handcrafted mattresses are safe from toxins. They go through a human channel and if they are manufactured in the USA, chances are that they go through a  quality check from the staff of the company itself which cannot be overlooked.

        Are all memory foam mattresses hypoallergenic?

        Most memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses are hypoallergenic. Memory foam mattress allows little space for dust mites if protected well and chances of allergy from most of the mattress are slim. With that said, if the mattress is not well maintained, chances of allergy exists. No mattress is 100% safe from allergens. 

        Is memory foam bad for asthma?

        One of the most common problems related to mattresses is asthma and respiratory problems. Dust and particles accumulate between the foam and trigger a range of problems related to asthma and other breathing problems. Yes memory foam mattress can be bad for asthmatic patients and this is not a conclusive result. Many patients find a memory foam perfectly comforting if they have been well maintained, is not new and doesn’t smell of chemicals. A mattress which is over a month old and well maintained will often work great for asthmatic patients. A well aired memory foam mattress has little particles which can trigger a breathing problem and is free from chemicals after a month of usage usually.

        Is visco memory foam toxic?

        Visco Elastic Memory foam mattress is pure memory foam. The result of taking a Polyurethane foam and turning it into a visco elastic memory foam requires processing it with a range of chemicals. These chemicals are usually dormant or aired out after the process. Most of these chemicals will not affect the user after aired out for more than 24 hours. Technically, Memory foam mattresses are non toxic. If the mattress does involve some toxins which are not aired out and if you are sensitive to them, chances are you will have a health issue and often an allergic reaction.

        If You feel that you are allergic to memory foam mattresses, be sure to check the return conditions. If you don’t like the mattress, you would want to return the mattress at some point of time you don’t want a mattress which you cant use at home blocking space. To be on the safer side, always check on a mattress which is natural, safe and organic. We recommend some of the best Latex mattresses for those who have health conditions.

        About The Author

        Rajeev

        The Name is Rajeev. I go by a lot of pseudo names because I just like to have fun. Like Shakespeare once said, "what's in a Name?" or was is Shakespeare? I love to read. Mostly fiction. I am probably the most unromantic person you could ever meet. Loner, Claustrophobic and often mute! I love to sit on my porch, read a book while it's raining. I live in a farm surrounded by creatures and my best friend is a dog named Happy.  I have worked in the IT industry for the past 20 years. I have been writing a book since the past 6 which i doubt will be complete anywhere in this century! I love to design websites and fantasize being a Hacker or nerd!