Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures.
We don’t like to think about it, but most of us share our beds with thousands of tiny, 0.3-millimeter wide creatures called dust mites.
Even more disagreeable is the fact that, along with ordinary house dust, we breathe in their feces, which contains enzymes called proteases. These, in turn can cause symptoms from mild wheezing and coughing to severe asthma attacks.
Dust mites are notoriously hard to get rid of, especially from bed linen, because they can easily pass through pores in the fabric.
Barbara Majkowska-Wojciechowska of Lodz Medical University is part of a team that has created a new way to fight dust mites.
“Our method here has allowed us to create a barrier for dust mites and allergens. This is unique,” she said.
Unlike most other anti-allergen fabrics, the new material stops the mites but allows the passage of air and moisture. That makes the sheets more comfortable.
Allergy sufferers who tested it say the symptoms were reduced up to 70 percent.
“They told us that they have finally begun to sleep normally in bed, because they had previously struggled with sleep and it was really tough for them. They could not even lie in their beds because they suffered from asthma attacks, stuffy nose, and watery eyes. Suddenly they began to sleep,” said Majkowska-Wojciechowska.
Researchers say repeated washing did not reduce the anti-allergic feature of the new fabric. They expect that after additional testing it will be ready for the market.
In the meantime, dust allergy sufferers are advised to keep their homes dry, vacuum floors often and wash their bed linen in hot water.