Bed Bugs are the Real Vampires

vampire bat
courtesy panuruangjan@freedigital photos

When I was a kid, the old black and white movies with scary monsters like vampires and mummies were some of my favorites. As I got older, I loved movies (like Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) that allowed me to laugh at my fears.

Currently zombies fill the screens of horror flicks. Zombies are scary, but what really frightens me are the thought of real blood-sucking creatures crawling into bed with me at night. I’m afraid of bed bugs and I have never been bitten by one. Yet.

Bed Bug PTSD

I went looking to see if the fear of bed bugs had been given a specific “phobia” name. I didn’t find a phobia for bed bugs in particular. The fear of beds is Clinophobia and the fear of bugs is Entomophobia, but there isn’t a Clino-Entomo-phobia as of yet. Give it time.

I did find that people who have actually had a bout with bed bugs may suffer from an anxiety similar to mine known as “Bed Bug PTSD”. I am not making this up. The Atlantic published an article about bed bug anxiety . Well, OK, they called it “madness” but even I think that is extreme.

bed bugs make you crazy
Bed Bugs Keep You Up Last Night?

Turns out that once you survive an infestation of bed bugs, the expensive and time consuming eradication process can leave you emotionally scarred. I believe it. I’ve never had bed bugs, but I have helped so many people going through the bed bug extermination process that I live in fear of bed bugs.

Bed Bugs are Evil Blood Suckers

EHSO has some pretty good information about bed bugs. In a bed bug photonutshell, these bugs are small, but are large enough to be seen with the naked eye (unlike microscopic dust mites). They feed on blood. Human blood in general and your blood in particular is their favorite meal. They use two tubes, one to inject an anticoagulant and another to extract your blood. They feed every 5 to 7 days and they are attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale.   I guess you could just never exhale. Let me know how that works for you. The anticoagulant they inject causes a bump and an itching sensation.

The little buggers will hide anywhere, but close to you and your bed is one of their favorite locations. For many years they were considered to be pests of the unclean. But as we travel more and the world gets smaller, bed bugs can be found in the finest homes and hotels and the most modest motel and slums as well. No place is immune.

Now Recognized as a Health Risk

For years bed bugs were considered a disgusting nuisance but not a carrier of disease. People were found to be allergic to the bites, but that didn’t pose any more health risk than allergy to mosquito bites or other insects. However, recent research has shown that bed bugs can be a carrier of Chagas Disease. So fear of bed bugs isn’t completely irrational.

Calm Your Bed Bug Fears

Having confessed to my bed bug fears, here are some things I do to prevent a bed bug infestation from ever happening to me. It has been successful so far, but I am sure as soon as this gets published I will get bed bugs. Like punishment for bragging. So here is my routine:

Bed Bug Covers. My mattress and pillows are all protected in zippered bed bug coverszippered bed bug proof covers. I am highly allergic to dust mites, so I need zippered covers for dust mite protection. I use the AllergyCare Solution bed bug proof and dust mite proof fabric so I literally kill two bird (or is it bugs) with one stone.

Bed Bug Avoidance. Since I don’t have bed bugs in my house, I don’t want to bring them into my house. So, when I travel my suitcase stays in the bathtub at a hotel. I never put luggage on the floor.

When I come home, my suitcase stays in the garage until it can be thoroughly inspected and the clothing goes from the garage into the washing machine before it ever comes in the house.  See, I have been afraid of bed bugs for years.

Bed Bugs are Scary

So yes, bed bugs are scary. They don’t fly like vampire bats; but I haven’t read a case of someone picking up a suitcase full of vampire bats by staying in a hotel. I read about bed bugs in stores, but I don’t read about vampire bats in stores. You get the idea.

In reality, bed bugs are to be feared more than vampires. In fiction, bed bug zombies would be the worst!

Til Next Time!

Cheryl

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How to Measure a Mattress for a Mattress Cover

Most people know what size bed they have. Well, that is most people. Some still get hung up on the difference between a King and a Cal King. What really tricks people up is the depth of the mattress. Is it a pillow top? Do I need a deep or extra deep cover? In order to answer these questions, you’ve got to know how to measure a mattress for a mattress cover.

Standard Mattress Sizes

In the United States, the length and width of mattresses are standard. That’s a good thing. To determine your standard size, use the following chart.

Mattress Size by Name Mattress Dimensions in Inches
King 78 x 80
California King 72 x 84
Queen 60 x 80
Full 54 x 75
Twin 39 x 75
Long Twin (Hospital Twin) 39 x 80

Notice these sizes only refer to the length and width.  Now where it gets tricky is the depth. A standard mattress is 8 to 9 inches deep. But who has a standard mattress these days?

How the Measure a Mattress Depth

Depth becomes important if you  have a mattress that is larger or smaller than normal. That’s because standard bedding is sewn to accommodate a standard mattress depth (no more than 9 inches)

Pillow top, plush top, and double pillow tops are where it starts to get tricky. The mattress is sewn with a top and bottom edge seam. If you were to measure the distance between these two seams to determine the depth, you would be wrong.

Take a look at this picture and you will see why.

Why You Can’t Measure a Mattress Depth By the Seams

If you measured the bottom of the mattress to the top seam you would get a measurement of 14″.  That would lead you to believe that a 15″ mattress cover would fit your mattress. But, if you bought a 15″ cover and had this mattress you would be in trouble. That’s because this mattress is actually 16″ deep.

To measure  a mattress depth, you’ve got to measure the very top of the mattress. In this instance, we placed a small piece of wood on top of the mattress and then used a measuring tape to measure the distance between the bottom of the mattress and the bottom of the piece of wood. That’s 16 inches deep and a full 2 inches different from the measurement at the side of the mattress. If I ordered an organic cotton mattress encasement for this mattress I would order the King 18″ deep. That’s because 15″ would be too small.

Tight is Not Good

When it comes to mattress covers, you don’t want tight. Tight is not good. Tight makes it very hard to get the mattress cover on and off the mattress. The harder the chore, the less likely it will be performed. And you do need to perform this chore once or twice a year to wash the cover.

Tight also puts stress on the seams and zippers. That’s also not good. Unstressed and laundered properly, a dust mite proof mattress cover should last for years. Stress on the seams and zippers just shortens the life of the cover.

Hope this information helps you measure a mattress for a mattress cover before you make a purchase. We want you to get the size you need without hassling with an exchange.

Til Next Time

Cheryl

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What Does Pore Size Mean in Allergy Proof Bedding

If you are diagnosed with dust mite allergies, the doctor will tell you to encase your bed in dust mite proof covers. That’s great advice. But, it isn’t all the information you need to make an informed buying decision. I know. That’s because we field lots of calls from people that want to know about pore sizes, microweaves, and laminated or coated allergy proof bedding. They are confused and looking for answers. We’re here to help.

get your allergy zippered mattress covers protect against sick bed syndromeThe Role of Allergy Proof Bedding in Keeping Allergens at Bay

The doctor tells you to use allergy proof bedding because it protects you from allergens that are too small to be seen. Dust mites, dust mite feces, bits of pollen and animal allergens collect in and on fiber surfaces. Your mattress, pillows, duvet or comforter are all places for allergens to collect.

Allergy proof bedding puts a barrier between you and the allergens. If you can’t breathe the allergen, it won’t make you sick.

As long as you wash your sheets every 7 days in 140ºF water, allergens won’t build up on top of your allergy covers.  The special zippered covers and the hot water washing keep the allergens at bay.

allergy proof bedding is 25% offWhat Makes Bedding Allergy Proof?

So, now we understand why we need allergy-proof bedding, but what is it that makes bedding allergy proof?

There are two ways to approach making a fabric allergy-proof: laminate it or weave it tightly.

Laminated fabrics are just a traditional bed linen fabric that has been bonded to a material that makes the fabric impenetrable to allergens. These fabrics can be cotton, synthetic, or a blend of the two.  It’s not the fabric that is allergy-proof, it’s the laminated backing. The laminate is some form of plastic. Heats bonds the plastic to the fabric.  Laminated fabrics don’t depend on the fabric to provide protection; they rely on the laminate. Laminates don’t have a pore size.

Microweave fabrics provide a barrier that allergens can’t get through. That’s because they have a very tight weave. The space between the fibers used to weave the fabric is the pore size. The larger the pore size, the more allergens that can get through. The smaller the pore size, the more particles the fabric can stop.

dust mites cause dust allergy
Small Pore Sizes Keep Dust Mites Out

Effective Pore Sizes

The pore size is determined by how tightly the fabric is woven.  Natural fibers like cotton are not very strong. You can’t weave cotton tightly. Polyester is a very strong fiber. It’s perfect for tight microweaves.

Allergy proof bedding with the smallest pore size will be all polyester. All cotton allergy proof bedding will have a larger pore size. Cotton/polyester blends are in the middle when it comes to pore sizes.

Dust mite fecal matter and/or body parts (we don’t actually breathe in whole dust mites) are as large as 10 microns. Pet allergen and mold spores are about 3 microns. In order for a microweave mattress encasing to be effective against dust mites it needs a pore size of 10 microns or less and 3 microns or less to be effective against mold and dander.

With that being said, all laminated mattress encasings are effective against dust mite, animal dander and mold allergens because they are a total barrier. They are water-proof too.

Differences in Allergy Proof Bedding

Microweaves and laminates are both effective in protecting against allergens. Which one you choose boils down to personal preference and budget.

Laminates are waterproof, microweaves are not.

Microweaves are generally cooler than laminated fabrics.

Laminated fabrics usually cost less.

Both fabrics require special care when washing. You can’t use high temperatures or chlorine bleach on laminates. Microweaves need gentle agitation to protect the weave.

Hope this clears up the pore size question. Have other questions about bedding? Just enter your question in the comments below.

Wishing you the best of health
Mike Krause

AllergyStore.com

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