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Innovative mattress gives protection from dust mites & bed bugs
08
Apr '11
They are tiny, they bite and no-one wants to be in bed with them yet whole hordes of bed bugs are currently invading human territory. People living in the USA and especially in the city of New York know all about them: in recent months they have suffered the worst invasion of bed bugs there for over 50 years. However, spread by travellers, the little creepy-crawlies are also on the march in Europe and other parts of the world. In the fight against these nocturnal biting insects, which feed on human blood, licensed insecticides are proving increasingly useless.

However, help for your bedroom at home or in hotel bedrooms is now available in the form of an innovative mattress which has been developed by the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim (Germany) - and uses no chemicals at all.

Originally, the special mattress was intended for use in the fight against house dust mites. However, Prof. Dr. Höfer of the Institute for Hygiene and Biotechnology at the Hohenstein Institute is convinced that it can also be effective in preventing your sleeping space from being taken over by bed bugs: "In general, house dust mites and bed bugs have the same preferences in terms of their living conditions: they live in close proximity to people and love the warm, moist atmosphere of mattresses and so they multiply there extremely quickly."

The aim of the scientists was therefore to create conditions on and inside the mattress such that mites and bed bugs would not become established there in the first place. To do this, they made use of the creatures' sensitivity to dryness and heat. By changing the hygrothermal conditions, i.e. the level of heat and moisture within the mattress, an environment that is hostile for mites and bed bugs can be created.

This is done by heating up the mattress twice a week with flexible textile heating elements that are built into the core of the mattress at regular intervals. This ensures that the required temperature of 55 °C and humidity of below 40% is reached in all parts of the mattress. A special power supply unit is used both to prevent dangerous electric shocks and to stop electrosmog from forming that could cause interference and health problems.

Since the temperature to which the mattress is heated can be controlled, in winter the system can be used as an alternative to an electric blanket, promising greater comfort for
more discerning sleepers.

Prof. Höfer believes the new development has great potential: "For many people, thanks to this new mattress it will now at last be possible to enjoy an undisturbed night's sleep, without insect bites or allergic reactions. We are sure that we will soon find a manufacturer or importer for the special mattress in the USA." Since bed bugs are very mobile, the bedroom should not offer these mini-vampires any safe refuge. Otherwise Prof. Höfer thinks there is a risk that the bed bugs could continue their nightly attacks on their human hosts, for example from carpets or soft furnishings.

Hohenstein Institute

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