5 Questions To Ask When Shopping For Encasings
1. Do I Really Need Encasings?
Before you invest in something that may not help you, look over these diagnostic questions to help you assess your need for bed encasings.
Are you or a family member dust mite allergic?
Bedding encasings are one of the most doctor-recommended allergy control measures for dust mite allergic patients. Physicians know, and research confirms, that encasings can be very effective in preventing allergic symptoms and asthmatic reactions. Why? Since mites feed on our dead skin cells and they love warm, humid conditions, our beds and bedding are an ideal environment for them. Would you believe that the typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside? Studies have shown that about 10 percent of the weight of the average two-year-old pillow is dead dust mites and their droppings.
If an allergist has diagnosed you as dust mite allergic, you really should encase your pillows, mattress and box springs to reduce exposure to dust mite allergen, which you are breathing in all night. Think of your immune system as a bucket. As you breathe in allergens, your bucket begins filling up, but you don't experience irritating symptoms until your bucket overflows. Encasings are an integral part of keeping your bucket from overflowing.
Do you or your family members have other environmental allergies?
Even if your sensitivity to dust mite allergen is relatively low, encasings are still a good idea if you have pet and mold allergies. Pet allergen is sticky and can remain long after the cat or dog has gone from a home. If you're sleeping on a hand-me-down mattress and the previous owner had pets, you may be exposing yourself to more allergens than you thought.
The same moist conditions that make mites happy in our pillows and mattresses can also make mold happy. Watch this video clip (you may be asked to "Get the latest Flash player" in order to view the video - it's easy to install) of Dr. Philip Tierno, director of microbiology and immunology at the New York University Medical Center, on the Today Show as he exposes "what lies beneath" inside the pillows of some unsuspecting volunteers.
Do you have children?
The tendency to be asthmatic can also be hereditary, and studies show that many times asthma symptoms are triggered by exposure to allergens. Therefore, if you have allergic sensitivities, your children are more likely to have allergies, although not necessarily the same ones. Studies have also shown there are measures you can take to prevent the onset of allergic sensitivities. As you heard from Dr.Tierno in the Today Show clip, limiting children's exposure to allergens is an important undertaking. According to an article printed in American Family Physician, "studies of primary prevention of allergic disease have demonstrated that decreased exposure to allergens in infancy may prevent the development of allergic disease." (German JA, Harper MB. "Environmental Control of Allergic Diseases." American Family Physician. August 2002)
Doctors know the residual benefit of sleeping in an allergen-free environment. Martha White, an allergy physician, states, "I have them [parents] do the allergy encasings [and] try to keep the stuffed animals out of the bed." These simple steps can do wonders. Even if your children are too young to have been tested for allergies or asthma, encasings can still be a valuable investment to keep your child's "bucket" from overflowing, too.
Are you concerned about bed bugs?
I attended a family wedding a few weeks ago and was chatting with my cousin who knows my affinity for helping folks with allergies. "You know what's a big problem in the Northeast?" she asked, and quickly answered her own question, "Bed bugs." She's right. From San Francisco to New York, and dozens of other US cities, bed bug infestations have grabbed headlines and forced hoteliers to do some major apologizing and exterminating. National Allergy's encasings are all bed bug proof, and we have the test results to prove it. While many bed bug infestations should be treated by professional extermination companies, National Allergy encasings can be a good first step if you are concerned about these nasty pests.
2. Do These Encasings Work?
An allergy-proof encasing's main function is to block allergens from getting into the air you breathe. Watch out for misleading terms like hypoallergenic or "allergen-inhibiting covers", because that is not the same as mite-proof encasings that are specifically manufactured to trap nearly 100% of allergens in your bedding. There are several methods for judging the effectiveness of an encasing. Some encasing products boast that their fabric has a tiny "mean pore size". Pores are the spaces left between the crosshatches of a woven fabric as illustrated in the close up of our BedCare Elegance fabric to the right. When using this number to compare encasing efficacy, keep in mind that an encasing boasting an extremely tiny pore size will probably be less breathable and that the measurement is a "mean" with some larger and some smaller. Also, companies should back up pore size claims with data. While National Allergy places the most weight on tests that measure whether an encasing blocks allergens, we understand that some customers and physicians may be concerned with mean pore size. Thus, we've had our woven encasings measured and you can read these results, as well as more information about pore size and encasing efficacy at the National Allergy website. The bottom line is that all our encasings are within the research-recommended parameters for effectiveness.
The most practical assessment of an encasing's effectiveness and comfort is to measure how much allergen is actually transferred through the material compared to how much airflow the material allows. Independent laboratories perform various tests to measure each of these properties.
IBT Reference Labs performs rigorous testing on National Allergy fabrics and the fabrics of other companies. View our reference chart to see the airflow and amount of mite allergen and cat allergen that passes through our different encasing styles. By the way, cat allergen is tested because it is ten times smaller than mite allergen and therefore a greater challenge.
When judging effectiveness, you should look not only at what an encasing is made from, but how it is constructed. Look for features like rust-proof zippers and reinforced seams. No matter how good a material is, if the cover is poorly sewn, mite allergen can easily pass through seams and zippers. At National Allergy, it is very important to us to offer the best allergy mattress and pillow covers. In fact, it is so important to us that we have our own manufacturing plant. So we KNOW that our encasings are sewn correctly to give the best protection from dust mite allergen.
3. Will Using Encasings Affect My Sleep?
Allergy mattress and pillow covers have come a long way from the original hot and crinkly plastic. Rather than adversely affecting your sleep, today's encasings should help you sleep better by reducing snoring, sniffles, and other allergy symptoms. The newest allergy-proof materials are so soft, quiet, and breathable you won't know they're there. My personal favorite is National Allergy's BedCare Elegance. I love how it fits cleanly on the mattress, and is so cool and comfortable. I don't blame people for not covering their bedding with those early encasings, but now there's no excuse!
The newest materials are so comfortable that they're made into comforter covers and duvet liners as well, so you can enjoy your comfy bedding without allergens!
4. How Long Will Encasings Last?
The encasings on my bed come with a LIFETIME warranty, as do all but one of National Allergy's encasing lines. The all-new BedCare Basics encasing comes with a 10-year warranty. Since doctors recommend washing your encasings regularly, your mattress and pillow encasings should be able to stand up to frequent washings.
Our premium Sleep Fresh Vinyl Encasings for your box springs are also guaranteed for a lifetime. They're a few pennies more than what you might find in your local discount store, but the vinyl is as strong as an ox. We never thought customers would rave about vinyl, but we've had many compliments on the durability of these Sleep Fresh Vinyl Box Spring Encasings.
5. Will Buying Bedding Encasings Break My Budget?
As you have investigated ways to limit allergens in your home, you've probably been overwhelmed by the plethora of products and claims you have to sift through. If you make one allergen-avoidance investment, I would recommend buying bedding encasings. And no, they shouldn't break your budget. Many people spend more on a sheet set than you'll need to spend on mattress, pillow and box spring encasings (and your encasings won't go out of style!).
To save money, concentrate on the bed of the primary allergy sufferer in your home. Invest in a durable vinyl box spring encasing, plus a pillow and mattress encasing style that is washable, comfortable and lab tested - our BedCare Supreme is a great value. For guest beds, pillow shams and other less utilized bedding, use less-expensive encasings, like BedCare Basics, and skip the box spring. If you like the feel of cotton, our polyester/cotton blend, BedCare Ultra, may be just the encasing for you. When water resistance is an issue, BedCare Classic provides that due to it's protective inner membrane.
I hope these 5 Questions to Ask have helped you with your buying decision so you can rest easy and allergen-free. If you're still feeling overwhelmed, give us a call between 8:30 and 6:30 Eastern Time, and let one of our highly trained customer service experts walk you through an allergen-avoidance plan that you can understand (and afford)!
The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor first about your specific condition, treatment options and other health concerns you may have.
Remember that our customer service representatives have plenty of experience guiding people through the options for allergy, asthma and sinus relief, so feel free to contact us by calling one of our phone experts at 1-800-522-1448 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Eastern Time. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.