medical - Anti-allergy Bedding


An informed choice
There is little doubt that public awareness of allergen related illness is far greater today than it was ten years ago. There is also little doubt that as a society more and more people, particularly young children are developing allergic reactions to a whole number of allergens. Government statistics clearly confirm these concerns. There is also much debate about the reasons for this large increase in allergic reactions and it will be some time before all of the factors are fully understood. As a result of this public awareness, there have emerged a number of new technologies over the last few years that address some of the main allergens with in the home environment.


One of the most significant product ranges is that of anti-allergen bedding. It is acknowledged that the bed environment is one of the main sources of dust mites and its allergen DerP1 within the home. These new technologies allow healthcare professionals the opportunity to offer their patients clear guidelines on self-help strategies to compliment the conventional drug based treatments which deal with the symptoms of allergic reactions.


The number of people demanding anti-allergen products is increasing by almost five percent a year and it is anticipated that by 2015, fifty percent of the population of Europe will suffer from an allergy (

Within the home environment it is acknowledged that one of the main air borne allergens is DerP1 which is present in the house dust mite faeces. This allergen is of respirable size and due to the water free environment in which the mite lives, it is devoid of moisture and rapidly becomes statically charged. As a result of this the allergen is repelled by most solid surfaces and has a tendency to remain in the breathable air for long periods of time. Allergic reactions to this allergen are manifested in asthma, allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis and eczema. The importance of controlling this allergen has been recognised by the World Health Organisation who has issued the following guidelines:

•The concentration of Derp1 Allergen required to sensitise a person is 10micrograms/cm3 air.

• The concentration of DerP1 Allergen required to trigger an allergic reaction in someone who is already sensitised is 2 micrograms/cm3 air.


These guidelines relate to the concentration of this allergen present in the air that we breathe in our home environments.


There are today three main self help strategies involving antiallergen bedding for minimising the Derp1 Allergen within the home. These can be classed as the natural fibre route, the barrier or containment route and the third is termed an “actives route”. Each of these approaches has its own advantages and weaknesses.

The natural fibre route relies upon the use of natural fibres like silk, or wool or feathers that have had all allergens removed as part of their preparation process. These are used in bedding articles like duvets and pillows with the instructions that they are washed frequently at 65 deg c, this temperature being the minimum temperature required to kill the dust mites.


The barrier approach relies upon certain key articles of bedding such as the pillow cover and the mattress cover being constructed from very finely woven fabrics some of which may also have a laminated film attached to them. These products form a physical barrier between the mites that are present in the mattress/pillow and the person asleep in the bed.


The third approach which has emerged in the last few years uses fibres or textile treatments that have active ingredients in them which prevent the dust mites from developing in the new article of bedding. These systems attempt to disrupt the environment in which the dust mites thrive. This environment relies upon three critical factors; moisture, temperature and a skin cell derived food source. These skin cells which form the basis of the dust mite food source are, however, inedible as shed and need to be broken down by the action of fungi and moisture.

The most common approach is therefore one in which the food chain is broken by the management of the fungal spores that are present in all conventional non active bedding items. The fungal spores play a critical part in the food chain and if their development is controlled within the bedding then the food chain breaks down. This approach is the subject of two patents granted to the Amicor product developed by Acordis and currently owned by Fibres Worldwide Ltd. Products made using this approach have been subject to clinical studies and the results clearly show significant reductions in the number of mites and the Derp1 present in the bedding articles. (

These studies also clearly indicate a reduction in the patients need for the prescribed drugs given to them to treat the symptoms of their allergic reactions.

One of the best endorsements aimed at providing independent credibility to allergen control products is the Allergy UK “Seal of approval” scheme. Many allergy sufferers are actively seeking products which carry this “Seal of Approval”.


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