The 20th Shanghai International Nonwovens Exhibiton(SINCE)

The 20th Shanghai International Nonwovens Exhibiton(SINCE)

2023 | Shanghai World Expo Exhibiton and Convention Centre, Shanghai, China.

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The role of textiles in dust mite fight

Researchers at the Hohenstein Institute, the international research and service centre in Germany, have welcomed a new study that confirms the importance of anti dust mite textiles in relieving the symptoms of neurodermatitis sufferers.

Dust mites feed on flakes of skin and moisture. In addition to mattresses and bedding, they therefore like to infest clothing and domestic textiles such as upholstered furniture and carpets. If these products are beneficial to neurodermatitis sufferers, they need to be labelled “Effective against dust mites”. © Hohenstein Institute

The study has established the link between dust mites and neurodermatitis. Previously, German scientists tested neurodermatitis patients for dust mite allergy and found that 90% of sufferers were also allergic to dust mites, without realising it; the latest study, from England, has also shown how dust mite allergens activate the immune system and trigger an inflammatory reaction in the skin.

Children are most affected by neurodermatitis. They experience symptoms such as red, flaky patches of eczema or severe itching. The key lesson emerging from these two studies is that by preventing the skin from coming into contact with dust mite excrement, including via textiles, is an important way of counteracting neurodermatitis.

“These are two very important studies,” says professor Dirk Höfer of the William Küster Institute at the Hohenstein Institute, who is researching which kinds of clothing can help people with neurodermatitis or sensitive skin, “because they show a link for the first time – the fact that one and the same allergen can irritate both the respiratory tracts and the skin. They also show that suitable textiles could alleviate the symptoms of neurodermatitis.”

However, in addition to the effectiveness against dust mites, it is also important to take account of the special requirements that people with sensitive skin or eczema have of textiles, according to Höfer. So as a supplementary measure to prevent and treat neurodermatitis, it is important to use infection-preventing yarns that are not cytotoxic and do not increase skin sensitivity (skin and tissue compatibility).

Textiles should also not contain any mechanically irritating fibres, seams or accessories, should create a microclimate with the best possible textile physiological parameters such as thermal conductivity and moisture absorption and wicking, and should not have any occlusive (air-excluding) areas. Finally, they should also be compatible with treatments such as lotions.

The way anti-dust mite textiles work is based on either the dust mites being destroyed by chemical agents (anti-dust mite treatments) or the textiles being so dense that no dust mite excrement can penetrate them. Textiles can be tested and assessed for both properties. © Hohenstein Institute

Until now, manufacturers of bedding and encasings have mainly been interested in testing their products for “anti-dust mite effectiveness”, because textiles that successfully exclude dust mites and the allergens contained in their excrement can protect end users from the attendant symptoms of a house dust allergy. There is, therefore, a demand for these products, especially from healthcare institutions, hotels and guest houses, but also from private households.

However, in light of the new findings, manufacturers and retailers of textiles that are specifically intended for neurodermatitis sufferers should also, in the interests of the consumer, attach increased importance to providing evidence that their textiles are “anti dust mite effective”.

To support this claim, the Hohenstein Institute offers two accredited tests. Tests for the allergen-resistance of textiles can result in, for example, bedding that effectively keeps the dust mite excrement at bay being awarded the “House dust and dust mite barrier” label. On the other hand, the “Anti-dust mite effectiveness” test shows whether an item that has been treated actually inhibits the growth of house dust mites or even destroys them. Textiles tested in this way for compliance with the standard NF G39-011 can then be awarded the “Effective against dust mites” label. This also identifies clothing that is beneficial for neurodermatitis sufferers.

The Hohenstein labels and certificates can be used by textile manufacturers in their marketing. They can successfully appeal to the target groups of house dust allergy sufferers and neurodermatitis sufferers, as well as healthy people who want to prevent neurodermatitis, and provide useful advice for them when they are buying textiles.

 

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