Allergies are a growing problem worldwide. Almost 40% of western populations suffer from allergies, and the problem is increasing by 20-50% each decade.
Exposure to a variety of substances, which may not cause any reaction in the majority of individuals, can cause sensitised people to sneeze, cough, itch, wheeze, have runny eyes and nose, and rashes. The substances causing these reactions are called allergens, and commonly include house dust mites, pet dander, pollen and fungal spores.
Allergens stimulate the body to produce antibodies, which attach to special cells called mast cells. Subsequent exposure to allergens triggers these mast cells to release a range of chemicals including histamine, which causes inflammation. To exert their effect, allergens have to get inside the body. The airways are the most accessible route of entry, which is why many allergic reactions cause problems in breathing.
Allergy Control / Barriers
Barriers, such as mattress and bedding covers are designed to contain allergens and prevent them from triggering a reaction in susceptible individuals.
House dust mite allergens are a major cause of allergic reactions such as asthma, rhinitis and eczema, and barriers that prevent exposure to these allergens can help to reduce the incidence of allergic reactions.
The mites love warm humid environments such as beds, carpets and soft furnishing. We spend around 30% of our time in bed, and our beds are the ideal breeding ground for house dust mites. Perspiration, together with body heat, and a ready supply of food from shed skin, create the ideal growth environment for the mites.
Mites excrete allergens, which accumulate in the bedding and can be easily inhaled during sleep. Barriers like mattress, pillow and duvet covers can prevent these allergens from escaping. They can also prevent skin flakes, which feed the dust mites, from getting into the mattress and bedding.
A wide variety of barrier covers are available from different suppliers at widely differing prices. The important factor, when buying covers is the pore size. A pore size of 10 microns or less is needed to provide an effective barrier against dust mite allergens.