Current labeling allows people who are allergic to house dust to know when the textiles around them offer protection against dust mites. In the future, patients suffering from neurodermatitis may also find goods that can help control the condition.
German scientists testing neurodermatitis patients for dust-mite allergy found 90 percent of sufferers were also allergic to dust mites. A complementary English study has also shown how dust-mite allergens activate the immune system and trigger an inflammatory reaction in the skin. Victims—mostly children—experience such symptoms as red flaky patches of eczema or severe itching. The studies indicate that preventing the skin from coming into contact with dust mite excrement, including via textiles, is an important way of counteracting neurodermatitis.
Dirk Höfer of the William Küster Institute at the Boennigheim, Germany-based Hohenstein Institute, who is researching which kinds of clothing can help people with neurodermatitis or sensitive skin, said the studies for the first time show the same allergen can irritate both the respiratory tracts and the skin.
In addition to the effectiveness against dust mites, it is also important to take account of the requirements that people with sensitive skin or eczema have of textiles, Höfer said, adding it is important to use infection-preventing yarns that are not cytotoxic and do not increase skin sensitivity. Textiles should also not contain any mechanically irritating fibers, seams or accessories, should create a g 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.
Until now, the institute notes in a press release, 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. Demand for such products comes from healthcare institutions, hotels and guesthouses, as well as private households. The Hohenstein Institute recommends manufacturers and retailers of textiles that are specifically intended for neurodermatitis sufferers should also attach increased importance to providing evidence their textiles are “anti-dust mite effective.”
The institute, which specializes in the development, testing and certification of textile products, offers two accredited tests. The “allergen-resistance of textiles” can be assessed, because bedding, for example, that effectively keeps the dust mite excrement at bay can be awarded the “House dust and dust mite barrier” label.
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. So this also identifies clothing that is beneficial for neurodermatitis sufferers.