Title:
ANTIBACTERIAL AND ANTI-DUSTMITE PILLOWS AND PILLOW ENCASINGS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Hygienic, antibacterial, and anti-allergenic pillows or pillow encasings with a covering are disclosed. The covering comprises a fabric coated with a monolithic coating and a filter. The monolithic coating prevents moisture from entering the pillow and allergens from leaving the pillow or pillow encasing. The filter is operative to allow air to egress and ingress the pillow covering.



Inventors:
Fry, John (Duluth, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/619829
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
01/04/2007
Assignee:
National Allergy Supply, Inc. (Duluth, GA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/490, 5/699, 5/939
International Classes:
A47G9/02; A47G9/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20050085722Components and system for immobilization of a patient for treatment of breast tissueApril, 2005Waterman
20090015027POWERED PATIENT SUPPORT AND FASTENING SYSTEM WITH INDUCTIVE BASED POWER SYSTEMJanuary, 2009Lambarth et al.
20080078023VARIABLE SIZE AIRBEDApril, 2008Mcclintock et al.
20090127307MAT FOR CHANGING DIAPERMay, 2009Austwick et al.
20070271705Laminated SupportNovember, 2007Woolfson et al.
20030163872Light bed frame with receiving frame for installing rehabilitation devicesSeptember, 2003Hsin
20080104764MULTI-AIRBAG INFLATABLE PILLOWMay, 2008Chen
20030079283Hammock bagMay, 2003Vann
20060123553Underlay for the human body and method for producing the sameJune, 2006Jansen



Primary Examiner:
KELLEHER, WILLIAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ron Fontenot, President and CEO (Duluth, GA, US)
Claims:
1. (canceled)

2. The pillow claim 19, wherein said fabric comprises: natural fibers; synthetic fibers; or a combination of natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

3. (canceled)

4. The pillow of claim 19, wherein said fabric is bonded to a monolithic film.

5. The pillow of claim 4, wherein the film is selected from the group consisting of: a blown polyurethane-based film; a cast polyurethane-based film; a blown polyethylene-based film; a cast polyethylene-based film; a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based film; and a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based film.

6. The pillow of claim 19, wherein said filter is a microporous material.

7. The pillow of claim 6, wherein said microporous material has a filtration efficiency of an N-95 rating.

8. (canceled)

9. The pillow encasing of claim 20, wherein said closure assembly is a zipper.

10. The pillow encasing of claim 20, wherein said fabric comprises: natural fibers synthetic fibers; or a combination of natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

11. (canceled)

12. The pillow encasing of claim 20, wherein said fabric is bonded to a monolithic film.

13. The pillow encasing of claim 12, wherein the film is selected from the group consisting of: a blown polyurethane-based film; a cast polyurethane-based film; a blown polyethylene-based film; a cast polyethylene-based film; a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based film; and a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based film.

14. The pillow encasing of claim 20, wherein said filter is a microporous material.

15. The pillow encasing of claim 14, wherein said microporous material has a filtration efficiency of an N-95 rating.

16. The pillow of claim 19, wherein said fabric is bonded to a microporous film.

17. The pillow encasing of claim 20, wherein said fabric is bonded to a microporous film.

18. (canceled)

19. A pillow comprising: a filler; an airtight cover completely enclosing said filler, said airtight cover comprises a fabric; said airtight cover including a filter, said filter composed of a material having passages of a size sufficient to permit the ingress and egress of air under pressure, above atmospheric pressure, and restrain the passage of allergy producing particles through said filter, said filter being the sole passage for the ingress and egress of air under pressure, above atmospheric pressure, into and out of said pillow; said pillow is substantially rectangular having at least two longitudinal sides and at least two lateral ends; said filter extending substantially between said at least two longitudinal sides, said filter being positioned adjacent to and spaced from one of said at least two lateral ends.

20. A pillow encasing for use with a pillow comprising: said pillow encasing being a substantially rectangular hollow enclosure having a top, a bottom, at least two longitudinal sides and at least two lateral ends; said at least two longitudinal sides extending between said top and said bottom; said at least two lateral ends extending between said top and said bottom; said pillow encasing comprises a fabric composed of an airtight material; said pillow encasing including a filter, said filter composed of a material having passages of a size sufficient to permit the ingress and egress of air under pressure, above atmospheric pressure, and restrain the passage of allergy producing particles through said filter; said filter extending substantially between said at least two longitudinal sides, said filter being positioned adjacent to and spaced from one of said at least two lateral ends; said filter being the sole passage for the ingress and egress of air under pressure, above atmospheric pressure, into and out of said pillow encasing; one of said at least two lateral ends of said pillow encasing providing an opening to an interior of said substantially rectangular hollow enclosure; a closure assembly secured to said lateral end of said pillow encasing which includes said opening, said closure assembly operatively opening and closing said lateral end of said pillow encasing whereby a pillow can be inserted into said pillow encasing.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This disclosure relates to technology, materials, and methods for hypoallergenic bedding products, particularly, bed pillows and methods for covering and protecting pillows from organic contamination.

BACKGROUND

Formal and informal laboratory testing of pillows has shown that over years of use they can become a source of not only house dust mites and their allergens, but also various species of fungi and bacteria. These organic contaminates contribute to pathologies such as allergies, asthma, and chronic sinusitis. It has been established that using allergen avoidance measures, such as pillow and mattress encasings, can effectively control these conditions.

Bed pillows are usually constructed of a fabric covering, which comprises pieces of fabric made of natural fibers, synthetic fibers, or a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. Sewing the fabric along a seam that runs along the circumference of the pillow forms a covering. A filler of either synthetic fiberfill, down (feathers), latex foam, or viscoelastic foam inside the covering creates a pillow.

In addition to pillows constructed of two pieces of fabric joined at a center-sewn seam, some pillows are constructed with side gussets of varying widths. These gussets are created by adding a strip of fabric approximately one inch wide on each of the four sides of a pillow between the top and bottom covers of the pillow. The gussets allow the pillow filling to spread out, creating an area of support for a user's neck along the edges of the pillow.

A traditional pillow covering made of porous, woven materials allows moisture from the ambient air, the user's breath, or the user's saliva to enter the filling of the pillow. This moisture contributes in creating a warm, damp environment, which promotes the growth of dust mites, mold (fungus), and bacteria. Only coverings made from coated fabrics are able to stop moisture from entering the filling of a pillow.

Allergen-proof covers that prevent allergen egress are used in bedding (e.g., pillows, mattresses, box springs, duvets, and bed upholstery) to block dust mites and their fecal allergens so that a user does not breathe them in during sleep or use of a bed. Even though a pillow that has a coated fabric can prevent the entry of moisture into the pillow and stop the egress of allergens, the outside coated fabric can still become contaminated with allergens.

Typically, the coated fabrics used in pillows are coated on the inside surfaces of the pillow covering so that the user does not feel the coating while using the pillow. Thus, the outside surfaces of the covering fabric are untreated. The outside of the covering can collect moisture that promotes the growth of fungal spores, bacteria, and endotoxins on the outside of the pillow covering.

Therefore, to effectively prevent contamination, a pillow covering should not allow moisture to enter the pillow, should prevent the egress of allergens, and so resist the surface growth of bacteria, fungus, and dust mites on the outside of the covering.

Additionally, because pillow coverings come into direct or indirect (e.g., through a pillowcase) contact with the human body, it is desired that they be pleasing to the touch and quiet during sleep. For aesthetic as well as for reasons of comfort, the outer fabric of the pillow must drape properly, not feel stiff, and not trap air.

A monolithic coating the fabric of an entire pillow results in a pillow that traps air. If a pillow traps air, it becomes uncomfortable because it gives a user the feeling that they are resting on a balloon filled with air as opposed to a traditional pillow that allows air to egress through the pillow covering. Therefore, simply coating an entire pillow covering to make it hypoallergenic results in an uncomfortable pillow.

Thus, there is a need for a pillow that has properties that resist the surface growth of bacteria, fungus, and dust mites on the outside of the covering, prevents moisture from entering the pillow, and allows for an exchange of air between the inside of the pillow and the ambient air.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a drawing of a hypoallergenic pillow in use.

FIG. 1B is a partial cross-section drawing of a hypoallergenic pillow.

FIG. 2 is a drawing of a gusseted hypoallergenic pillow.

FIG. 3 is a drawing of a hypoallergenic pillow covering with a zipper closure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In addition to the drawings discussed above, this description describes one or more embodiments as illustrated in the above-referenced drawings. However, there is no intent to limit this disclosure to a single embodiment or embodiments that are disclosed herein. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents included within the spirit and scope of this disclosure and as defined by the appended claims.

FIG. 1 shows an embodiment of a pillow 100 and user 108. The pillow 100 comprises a filling material (not shown), and a covering 102 that includes a fabric 101 and a filter 104.

The pillow 100 is constructed by sewing two pieces of fabric together around the circumference of the fabric, allowing an opening for filling the resulting cover with a filling material, filling the cover with filling material, and closing the cover by sewing all of the remaining open edges together.

The filling material can include synthetic fiberfill, down (feathers), latex foam, viscoelastic foam, or any other material known in the art suitable for filling a pillow.

The cover 102 is constructed of the fabric 101 that may be, but is not limited to a knit fabric, a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric, a needle-punched fabric, or a stitch-bonded fabric. It may be made of natural fibers such as cotton, synthetic fibers such as polyester, or a combination of natural fibers and synthetic fibers.

In one embodiment, the fabric 101 can also include an agent or compound that has antimicrobial properties. Such fabrics are known in the art to provide antimicrobial activity. An antimicrobial agent includes, but is not limited to, an antimicrobial, an antibiotic, an antifungal agent, and an antiviral agent. Some metals are useful as antimicrobial agents in the fabric 101. They include, but are not limited to, silver, platinum, gold, zinc, copper, cerium, gallium, osmium, and the like. The preferred metal is silver. The antimicrobial agent can be impregnated within the fabric 101, e.g., via wearing or knitting fibers or material including the antimicrobial agent into the fabric 101 or applying a coating of material including the antimicrobial agent to the fabric 101.

As discussed above, the use of a monolithic or other airtight coating on the entire covering will result in an uncomfortable pillow that traps air. Therefore, the pillow includes a filter 104 sewn into the covering 102. The filter 104 allows the ingress and egress of air 106 to and from the inside of the pillow 100. The filter 104 is constructed of a material that has a high degree of filtration pathogens, such as that used in surgical masks or other very tightly woven material. In one embodiment, the filter 104 is made of a material with at least an N-95 rating. The N-95 rating, established by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, means that the material will stop 95% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger from passing through, with the ā€œNā€ signifying that the filtration efficiency does not apply to oil. The filter 104 is sewn to the pillow covering fabric 101 using stitching 110.

FIG. 1B shows a partial cross section of pillow 100 with the covering 102 and filler material 112. The fabric 101 is coated with a monolithic or microporous material 103 on the inside of the covering 102 that prevents moisture and allergens such as dust mites, mold (fungus), and bacteria from entering or exiting the pillow 100 through the fabric 101.

A number of procedures known in the art including but not limited to lamination, coating, or calendaring may bond the monolithic material 103 to the fabric 101.

The monolithic material 103 may be, but is not limited to any blown polyurethane-based film, cast polyurethane-based film, blown polyethylene-based film, cast polyethylene-based film, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) based film, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based film, or any other material with similar properties.

The filter 104 is a portion of the covering 102 that does not include the monolithic material 103. The filter 104 includes a fabric 105. The fabric 105 may be the same type as fabric 101, but without a monolithic coating, to give the cover 102 a uniform feel while still allowing for the ingress and egress of air 106. Alternatively, the filter 104 can be of a different material. Since the filter 104 allows air 106 to ingress and egress the pillow 100, the pillow 100 functions like a traditional pillow while remaining hygienic. Fabric 105 may be a different fabric or can have different colors or markings from fabric 101.

In FIG. 1A, the filter 104 is positioned at one end of the face of the pillow. In this manner, any allergens or microbes egressing from the pillow 100 will not be directly breathed in by the user. However, the filter 104 can be positioned anywhere in the pillow covering 102 and can be of any shape so long as the filter 104 allows the ingress and egress of air 106 in and out of the pillow 100. For example, the filter 104 can be of a circular or other shape instead of the rectangular strip depicted in FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2 is another embodiment of the disclosed pillow, depicting a pillow 200 with side gussets 207. The side gussets 207 are strips of fabric 201 that are sewn between the top and bottom faces of the pillow 200. They allow the filler material (not shown) to spread out under a user's neck (not shown).

A covering fabric 201 is coated with a monolithic or microporous coating (not shown) on the inside of a cover 202. A filter 204 is incorporated into one of the side gussets 203 thereby allowing the ingress and egress of air 206 in and out of the pillow 200.

In this non-limiting example of the gussetted pillow 200 shown in FIG. 2, the filter 204 is incorporated into a side gusset 207; the filter 206 may be positioned anywhere in the pillow covering 202 and may be any shape so long as the filter 204 allows the ingress and egress of air 206 in and out of the pillow 200.

FIG. 3 shows one embodiment of a pillow encasing 300. The pillow encasing 300 has a covering 302 with all of the elements of the previous embodiments including, a fabric 301 coated with a monolithic or microporous coating (not shown) on either the inside or outside of the fabric 301 and a filter 304 that allows the ingress and egress of air 306. However, the pillow encasing 300 also has a closure assembly 307 that allows the pillow encasing 300 to encase a pillow.

A traditional pillow (not shown) can be disposed within or placed into the pillow encasing 300. The closure assembly 307, which is depicted as a zipper in this embodiment, secures the pillow inside the pillow encasing 300. The closure assembly 307 can be a different mechanism in other embodiments, such as, but not limited to, snaps, buttons, a releasable seal, a flap of material, etc. Thus, with the pillow encasing 300, a wide variety of pillows may be used inside the encasing 300 while maintaining the hygienic benefits of the present invention. In addition, the pillow encasing 300 is preferably removable for cleaning.





 
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