The sniffles, sneezing, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat—indoor allergies can make your dream of a good night's sleep stay just a dream. Millions of Americans suffer from indoor allergies triggered by dust, dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen. While these allergens often lurk throughout your home, it's your bedroom that's most concerning. Allergen invasions can cost you your sleep, your health, and your well-being.
Fortunately, allergy bedding can help safeguard your health and get you back to sleep. Hypoallergenic bedding includes dust mite covers for pillows, mattresses, and duvets, all designed to protect your bed from allergy-triggering dust mites and other allergens. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you might also consider hypoallergenic sheets, mattresses, and pillows. Read on to learn 5 things to consider when you shop for allergy bedding.
1. Consider Your Allergies
Before tackling the basics like bedding type, size, and price, it's important to consider your allergies. Are you a mild allergy-sufferer? Or is your condition moderate or even severe? If you have mild allergies, you may notice your symptoms flare up lightly on occasion, usually during spring or fall allergy season. If you have moderate to severe allergies, you might suffer from allergy symptoms year-round, even missing days of school or work because of your condition. The severity of your allergies will guide your choice of fabric type and pore size, both of which are important for protecting your bedding from microscopic allergens.
2. Bedding Type
Next, choose the type of allergy bedding you need. If you have mild allergies, you might find that adding dust mite pillow protectors is enough to relieve your symptoms. If you have moderate to severe allergies, consider protecting your entire bed with allergy-proof bedding for the most relief. Choose from:
- Dust Mite Covers - Dust mite covers protect your pillows, mattress, duvet, and even your box-spring from a dust mite invasion. Zip these covers around your bedding to seal out dust mites and form a protective shield against other common allergens like pet dander, dust, and mold particles.
- Hypoallergenic Sheets, Blankets, and Comforters - Hypoallergenic sheets, blankets, and comforters are made from fabrics that are less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Popular fabrics include cotton, organic cotton, microfiber, and silk—all are naturally resistant to allergens, moisture, and odors. Choose from a variety of thread counts and pore sizes depending on your preference and need.
- Hypoallergenic Pillows and Mattresses - Hypoallergenic pillows and mattresses are made with natural, chemical- and dye-free materials, so they won't trigger your symptoms or cause skin allergies. The fabric is allergen-repellant and typically has a small pore size for protection against dust mites and other particles. Allergy-proof pillows and mattresses are often used with dust mite covers for the best protection.
Allergy-free bedding is available in all standard mattress sizes including twin, full, queen, and king. Some manufacturers also make bedding in specialty sizes for cribs, extra long twin beds, and California king beds.
3. Fabric Type
The next step is to choose your fabric type. Allergy bedding comes in a variety of fabrics from cotton to polyester to silk. The type of fabric you choose depends mainly on your preference. Like conventional bedding, allergy-free bedding comes in a variety of thread counts. A higher thread count indicates softness and possibly a smaller pore size, which we'll explain soon. Among your fabric choices are organic and non-organic varieties. Organic bedding is made without harmful chemicals and dyes, which can help protect you from skin allergies.
4. Pore Size and Breathability
Average pore size refers to the size of the opening in the fabric weave. This is a good indicator for how well the bedding will protect you from allergens. Pore size is measured in microns, the same way allergens are measured. The smaller the pore size, the more allergens are blocked. Bedding with a pore size below 10 microns is recommended for helping reduce your allergies.
- Membrane Bedding
Some allergy bedding is made with an inner membrane coating that forms a non-porous barrier and prevents all allergens from breaking through. The membrane is usually made of urethane or vinyl. Membrane bedding offers the best protection for severe allergy-sufferers. It's also waterproof. Keep in mind though that bedding with a membrane is less breathable and it retains heat. If you tend to sweat while you sleep, bedding with a membrane may not be the best choice for you.
- Membrane-Free Bedding
Membrane-free bedding is the most breathable option. Membrane-free bedding will block most allergens, helping to reduce your symptoms and keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep. This type of bedding is generally a good option if you have mild to moderate allergies. Non-membrane bedding has a pore size of 4 to 5 microns, small enough to stave off the allergy triggers below.
Dust 0.1 to 100 microns
Pet Dander 2.5 - 10 microns
Pollen 7 to 100 microns
Mold Spore 10 - 30 microns
Pet Hair 50 to 150 microns
Dust Mite 250 - 300 microns
Finally, consider price as you shop. Higher-priced allergy bedding typically has a higher thread count, a softer feel, and better durability through frequent washings. Lower-cost bedding provides great protection against allergens, but it may not be as comfortable or durable overtime. Rest assured, however, that there are many bedding brands with products at multiple price points to fit your budget.
Other Tools for Relief
Protecting your bedding from allergens is a start, but allergy bedding is often just one tool in your allergy relief toolbox. Fight airborne allergens in your home with a HEPA air purifier and vacuum them up with a HEPA vacuum. Try using a steam cleaner to safely clean and disinfect surfaces in your home without introducing symptom-triggering chemicals. And if you're in the dark about what types of allergens lurk around in your home, use an allergen test kit to gain more knowledge so you can take control.
Still Have Questions?
For more information on our allergy bedding products and other ways to improve your indoor air, shop our site and visit our Knowledge Center. Not sure what's best for you? We can take the guesswork out of decision-making. Contact our product experts at 800-934-9194 for consultation and product recommendation. We want to help make your indoor environment healthy and comfortable.
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