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Hints for allergic persons
Haustierallergien

But there are allergies to bird feathers, for example in pigeon breeders. Can the same happen with bed-feathers, too?

 
This form of allergy occurs when substances, which trigger the allergic symptoms, enter the human body via the airway system.
It is an allergy, however, which is virtually unknown in the context of the bed-feather allergen.
 
This form of allergy occurs when substances, which trigger the allergic symptoms, enter the human body via the airway system.
It is an allergy, however, which is virtually unknown in the context of the bed-feather allergen.

A survey on bed-feather (keratin) allergy by Prof. Dr. med. Dietrich Hof­mann from the Clinical Center of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Center for Pediatrics led to the following results:
 
This form of allergy – the type III allergy, which can basically be triggered by bird feathers, for example by feathers from pigeons and budgerigars, “is, however, virtually unknown in the context of the bed-feather allergen, since long-lasting exposure to high concentrations of the allergen is the precondition for the manifestation of this group of diseases (allergic alveolitis). At the most, such a scenario could become reality for somebody, who worked, say, in the bed-feather industry and would be in close contact with the filling materials themselves.“
Hausstaubmilbenallergie

I read in the newspaper that if you leave your bed undone during the day, this will help to kill house-dust mites. Is that right?

In fact, the British researcher Stephen Pretlove, Kingston University in London stated: If you make your bed every morning, you will create an excellent habitat for house-dust-mites. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die. Thus, he emphasises the importance of heat and moisture for mites to survive.
However, it was pointed out that blankets which are spread over the bed and stuck between the mattress and the bed frame are frequently used in the UK.
In fact, the British researcher Stephen Pretlove, Kingston University in London stated: If you make your bed every morning, you will create an excellent habitat for house-dust-mites. Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die. Thus, he emphasises the importance of heat and moisture for mites to survive.
However, it was pointed out that blankets which are spread over the bed and stuck between the mattress and the bed frame are frequently used in the UK. If a bed cover is used as well, actually warm, damp conditions will be created ideal for the mites to thrive.
 
The advice of the British researcher cannot exactly be assigned to down-and feather-filled- duvets that are most common in Germany. It is advised that you fluff up your down-and-feather-filled duvets daily to remove the moisture that developed during the night. The longer the duvets are aired, the better dry and cool conditions are created less likely in mites to thrive.
 
Hausstaubmilbenallergie

Can the feathers contained in pillows and quilts trigger a house-dust-mite allergy?

Bed-feathers are not the trigger of a house-dust-mite allergy. Allergy sufferers react to the excrements of the house-dust-mite, not to the feathers. And neither are the feathers a food source for the mites. In order to avoid house-dust-mite allergies it is even recommended to sleep in down- and feather-filled bedding articles.
 
The German testing magazine ÖKO-TEST, too asserts: “The feather coat plays virtually no role in triggering an allergy“.
Bed-feathers are not the trigger of a house-dust-mite allergy. Allergy sufferers react to the excrements of the house-dust-mite, not to the feathers. And neither are the feathers a food source for the mites. In order to avoid house-dust-mite allergies it is even recommended to sleep in down- and feather-filled bedding articles.
 
The German testing magazine ÖKO-TEST, too asserts: “The feather coat plays virtually no role in triggering an allergy“. (See: ÖKO-TEST Kompakt, Richtig gut schlafen [Sleep really well], November 2006, p. 97)

Further information at :

 
An allergy to bed-feathers or more precisely to the substance called keratin, which is contained in the feathers, is extremely rare. According to current research the keratin has virtually no relevance in the process of triggering ailments of the respiratory system.
 
Prof. Dr. med. Dietrich Hofmann, from the Center for Pediatrics of the Clinical Center of the Frankfurt Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, researched the relevance of the bed-feather (keratin) allergy and gathered his findings in a study.
 
Hofmann refers to a survey dating back to 1994, which showed that more than 80 percent of the subjects reacted positively when tested for feather allergy and that the same individuals would display an equally positive reaction when tested for house-dust-mite allergy. From this the authors concluded that the test solutions applied at that time did not contain pure feather extract but also mite antigen in addition.
 
Hofmann adds: “Stronger allergologic reactions, such as a positive skin-rubbing test or a positive inhalation provocation test cannot be obtained in allergology.” Skin tests led to similar results.
 
 
He therefore reaches the following conclusions:
“Based on the current scientific literature and our own research, we can therefore state without a doubt, that the bed-feather antigen (keratin) is of virtually no significance as a trigger of ailments of the respiratory system (hay fever, chronic allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma). Because the allergen potency of the feather antigen (generally used in the form of a mixture of goose, duck and chicken feathers in tests) is to be categorized as extremely low, or respectively, minimal. This finding has resulted in many allergologists not testing the feather antigen at all – also because of the costs involved. In addition, this development is similarly reflected by numerous authors who recently published allergological reference books and textbooks. Their reports did not take into account the feather antigen as a separate substance and therefore as a trigger for allergic diseases. And we can observe this trend all over the world. Consequently, we can this sum up by saying that there is a worldwide consensus, that the bed-feather antigen itself is insignificant from an allergological point of view.“
 
 
Haustierallergien

Can pet-allergic patients use down- and feather-filled bedding?

Two recent scientific studies have demonstrated that synthetic bedding articles contain higher concentrations of animal allergens than feather bedding.
 
The guideline on Allergy Prevention by the Allergy Prevention Action Alliance states the following:
„Synthetic bedding contains a significantly higher number of animal allergens than feather bedding [Custovic 2000] and the allergen infestation took place in a shorter span of time than in feather bedding [Custovic 2001].“
 
  • Custovic, A./Hallam, C./Wood
Two recent scientific studies have demonstrated that synthetic bedding articles contain higher concentrations of animal allergens than feather bedding.
 
The guideline on Allergy Prevention by the Allergy Prevention Action Alliance states the following:
„Synthetic bedding contains a significantly higher number of animal allergens than feather bedding [Custovic 2000] and the allergen infestation took place in a shorter span of time than in feather bedding [Custovic 2001].“
 
  • Custovic, A./Hallam, C./Woodcock, H./Simpson, B./Houghton, N./Simpson, A. et al.
    Synthetic pillows contain higher levels of cat and dog allergen than feather pillows.
    Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2000; 11: 71-73
  • Custovic, A./Woodcock, A.,
    Environmental allergen exposure and asthma: prospects for primary prevention. Mediators Inflamm 2001; 10: 295-298
 
Further information at  on the guideline on Allergy prevention:
Hausstaubmilbenallergie Waschen

Do bedding products suitable for house- dust-mite-allergy sufferers have to be washable at 95°C?

Bedding products for house-dust-mite-allergy sufferers should be washable at not less than 60°C (follow care instructions on the label). Allergens are removed during each washing cycle. To remove the mites, however, temperatures of at least 60°C are necessary.
The Association of German Allergists (ÄDA) recommends to these patients to regularly wash their duvets, bed linen etc. at at least 60°C.
Bedding products for house-dust-mite-allergy sufferers should be washable at not less than 60°C (follow care instructions on the label). Allergens are removed during each washing cycle. To remove the mites, however, temperatures of at least 60°C are necessary.
The Association of German Allergists (ÄDA) recommends to these patients to regularly wash their duvets, bed linen etc. at at least 60°C.
 
 
To this, the following is stated in the guideline of the coalition allergy prevention (Aktionsbündnis Allergieprävention):
"Bedding should be washed at temperatures of at least 55°C (...), preferably at temperatures exceeding 60°C (...). A study performed by Stazi et al. could establish a protective effect in wheezing patients [whistling noise during the expiration phase] when the linens were washed at temperatures exceeding 60°C (...). At this temperature, maximum decrease in mite concentration could be observed in comparison with lower temperatures“.
 
  • Source: Borowski, C./Schäfer, T.: Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie. München 2005

 

Füllung Hausstaubmilbenallergie

Do house-dust-mite allergy patients have to replace their down- and feather-filled quilts and pillows by those with different filling materials?

It is still a widespread misconception that down- and feather-filled bedding articles are not suitable for house-dust-mite allergy sufferers.
It is still a widespread misconception that down- and feather-filled bedding articles are not suitable for house-dust-mite allergy sufferers. Sometimes it is recommended to replace down- and feather-filled quilts and pillows by those with different filling materials, which is quite misleading.
 
This recommendation is definitely outdated, as scientific studies have proven.
 
The Medical Association of German Allergologists (Ärzteverband Deutscher Allergologen e. V.) recommends the following for house-dust-mite allergy patients:
Contrary to the recommendations given so far, synthetic bedding articles are not beneficial; natural materials, such as down and feathers are preferable.“
 

As early as 1992, Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Jürgens, director of the Institute for Industrial Anthropology at the Kiel University, carried out a survey which included 700 field tests. He researched to which degree down- and feather-filled bedding articles were infested with house-dust-mite. He found out that pillows and quilts which are filled with down and feathers are not a source of mite infestation.
 
Out of the 192 samples collected from used pillows, which were included in the tests, 78% resulted completely negative regarding the mite allergen concentration. The remaining 22% of test specimens displayed mite concentrations so low that they qualified to be harmless to health from an allergological point of view (less than 10 mites per 0.1 g of dust).

Samples taken from 41 down- and feather-filled quilts showed similar results as well. Only 6 of the tested quilts were infested (mite concentrations were no hazard to health from an allergological standpoint, however), although the tests were carried out on a selection of quilts, that were particularly soiled. It was evident, that they had not been cleaned for at least 15 years, in many cases even for a much longer time.

Jürgens attributes the testing results to the fact that the shells (ticking) are mite-proof as well as to the microclimate in down- and feather-filled bedding articles which is detrimental to mites.
  • If the fabric of the bedding is down-proof, it represents a proper “mite barrier”. It is very tightly woven, in order to prevent the down and feathers from leaking out. Neither house-dust-mites nor the scales of human skin which the mites feed on, can enter through the shell fabric.
  • In addition, the thermal conditions and the climate of down- and feather-filled bedding are highly unfavourable to mites. They depend on humidity to survive, whereas the quick creation of warmth in one’s sleep and the quick reduction of humidity when the bedding is aired make for an environment which is detrimental to mites.
 
H. W. Jürgens, Ökologische Untersuchungen zu Hausstaubmilben [Ecological research on house-dust-mites] (1992), Der Kinderarzt 23 [The pediatrician 23], 1884-1889

www.nomite.de/juerg_de.htm

Jürgens claims: “The temperatures in down- and feather-filled duvets rapidly exceed the value where mites thrive, after you tucked yourself in. It gets too hot for the mites. In the restitution phase the humidity absorbed before by the duvet will quickly be released, due to the favourable climate dynamics of the filling. As a result the humidity level drops swiftly below the critical value where mites comfortably survive: it gets too dry for the mites.”
 

In 1998, Prof. Dr. med. Dietrich Hofmann, from the Center for Pediatrics of the Clinical Center of the Frankfurt Johann Wolfgang Goethe University refused to give a recommendation to generally eliminate feather-filled pillows and duvets from the sleeping rooms of patients which suffer from ailments of the respiratory system. This recommendation should rather be banned from the textbooks for specialist medical training. In saying this, Hofmann referred to the survey performed by Jürgens as well as to the results of a number of other studies on the topic.
 
D. Hofmann, Gutachten zur Einschätzung der Relevanz der Bettfedern-(Keratin-)Allergie [Expert opinion on the relevance of bed-feather-(keratin) allergy]
Among others, he referred to the observation by D.P. Strachan that the asthma prevalence is lower among children from households, where feather bedding is used than among children sleeping on synthetic pillows. Hoffmann stated, that it had unambiguously been established that eliminating down- and feather-filled pillows and duvets from the bedrooms would not diminish asthma occurrence.
Strachan, D. P., Home environment and severe asthma in adolescence: a population based case-control study, British Medical Journal 1995; 311(7012) 1053-1056
 
Hofmann considers to be noteworthy an observation by Strachan from a different survey: Particularly severe asthmatic shortness of breath was substantially reduced among children who used down- and feather-filled bedding.
Strachan, D. P. et al.: The risk of wheezing in children using feather pillows, British Medical Journal, 1997
 
T. J. Kemp et al. finally had determined that polyester-filled bedding displayed a significantly higher content of Der p 1 – the main substance contained in mite allergen – than pillows with feather fillings. The quotient was 3.5 to 8.5 feather-filled to polyester-filled pillows.
Kemp,T. J./Siebers, R. W./Fishwick, D./O’Grady, G. B./Fitzharris, P./Crane, J. (Wellington Asthma Research Group), House dust mite allergen in pillows.British Medical Journal 313, 1996

www.nomite.de/wellingt.htm 

In the aftermath of this study, a number of surveys on the subject of “the relevance of synthetic and feather-filled bedding in reference to house-dust-mites” have been conducted.
 

In 2004 the German Allergy Prevention Action Alliance (Aktionsbündnis Allergieprävention, abap) issued a guideline on allergy prevention, which referred to a number of differing surveys.
 
The guideline focuses on the one hand on primary prevention, that is, particularly the elimination or, respectively, the reduction of allergy triggers.
On the other hand, it is aimed at patients who show early symptoms of the condition, who are sensitized or who belong genetically to the at-risk population group (secondary prevention). The recommendations gathered in the guideline, which are aimed at prevention, not at therapy – are directed towards those patients who do not already suffer from asthma or an allergy.
 
The Allergy Prevention Action Alliance represents almost all relevant German institutions and organisations concerned with allergy prevention, such as “allergy-related professional associations, self-help organisations, medical umbrella associations, head organisations of the health insurance companies, the public health system, sciences and research as well as the national health care policy”.

(Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie [Evidence-based and consented guideline on allergy prevention]. München 2005, S. 9 [p.9])

The guideline is based upon allergy research from the years 1995 to 2002. The related studies were compiled and evaluated. Then, recommendations were commonly agreed upon and approved.
Such recommendations are of great significance in the field of allergy.
"Evidence-based and consented recommendations on the prevention of diseases are of immediate relevance for the general health, because they contribute to standardization, are promptly applicable on a national scale and increase effectiveness, as they are based on scientific evidence.“
(Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie [Evidence-based and consented guideline on allergy prevention]. München 2005, S. 9 [p.9])
 
The Allergy Prevention Action Alliance arrives at the following conclusion:
A synopsis of the studies “showed that a protective effect emerged when natural materials were used, whereas an allergenic effect was likely to occur when synthetic materials were applied“.
(Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie [Evidence-based and consented guideline on allergy prevention]. München 2005, S. 9 [p.111]).
 
In conclusion the Allergy Prevention Action Allianceissues the following recommendation for preventing house-dust-mite allergy (p. 124):
“Reducing the exposure to house-dust-mite allergens may lower the allergy risk for the at-risk population groups. An effective measure in terms of secondary prevention would be to encase mattresses, that is, to provide them with mite-proof covering“.
 
The guideline on allergy prevention in short:

www.uni-duesseldorf.de/AWMF/ll/061-016.htm

Based on the studies regarding house-dust-mite allergy, which had been evaluated, two recommendations were put up for discussion:
“We can, for methodical reasons, only develop recommendations, which are substantive to a limited extent. However, it is probable that reducing the patient’s exposure to house dust as a measure of secondary prevention may lower the risk of disease.”
 
and
 
“If even we cannot exclude selective reactions, the use of synthetic materials for pillows and duvets cannot be recommended, nor for primary neither for secondary prevention, according to the evaluated studies.“
 
Finally, the following recommendation was unanimously approved:
“The reduction of exposure to house-dust-mite allergens can lower the risk of allergy for at-risk population groups. An effective measure in terms of secondary prevention would be to encase the mattresses, that is, to provide them with mite-proof covering.“
(Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie [Evidence-based and consented guideline on allergy prevention]. München 2005, S. 9 [p.124])

In the following you will find the list of studies on house-dust-mite allergy which have been evaluated by the Allergy Prevention Action Alliance for the guideline on pages 64 to 66 (Wheeze or wheezing is the term used to describe the laboured breathing):
 

  • Risk factor

    Ponsonby, A. L./Dwyer, T./Kemp, A./Cochrane, J./Couper, D./Carmichael, A., Synthetic bedding and wheeze in childhood. Epidemiology 2003; 14: 37-44
    "When synthetic pillows were used during the first month of life or when synthetic bed linen was still used at the moment when the study was carried out, seven-year-olds displayed a significantly increased risk of developing wheezing symptoms. Children who suffered from asthma and who slept on synthetic pillows at an early age displayed symptoms earlier. The transferability of the results of this birth cohort study by Ponsonby et al. could be limited by the country of Tasmania."

    Zacharasiewicz, A./Zidek, T./Haidinger, G./Waldhor, T./Suess, G./Vutuc, C., Indoor factors and their association to respiratory symptoms suggestive of asthma in Austrian children aged 6-9 years. Wien Klin Wochenschr 1999; 111(21): 882-886
    "A trial by Zacharasiewicz et al. also included testing concerning the use of synthetic bed linen and the consequences on 6- to 9-years-olds. This study shows that using synthetic bedding represents a significant risk factor for the development of wheezing symptoms. Patients who had been diagnosed with asthma were excluded from the testing, but people who displayed wheezing symptoms throughout the preceding 12 months might have been part of the control group and might therefore distort the effect. "

 

  • Negative and/or protective effect

    Strachan, D. P., Home environment and severe asthma in adolescence: a population based case-control study. British Medical Journal 1995; 311(7012): 1053-1056
    and
    Butland, B. K./Strachan, D. P./Anderson, H. R., The home environment and asthma symptoms in childhood: Two population based case-control studies 13 years apart. Thorax 1997; 52(7): 618-624

    "The use of feather duvets and feather pillows or synthetic pillows, respectively, showed a protective effect on the development of wheezing symptoms in children and adolescents aged between 11 and 16 years."
 
  • No association and protective effect

    Ponsonby, A. L., Feather bedding and house dust mite sensitization and airway desease in childhood. J Clin Epidemiol 2002; 55(6): 556-562

    "Ponsonby et al. could not establish any effect for the use of feather pillows and feather duvets on the development of asthma in 8-year-old children from Tasmania. The frequency of wheezing symptoms (> 12 episodes), however, was associated inversely to feather bedding."

     

     Ponsonby, A. L./Gatenby, P./Glasgow, N./Mullins, R./Hurwitz, M./McDonald, T., The association between synthetic bedding and adverse respiratory outcomes among skinprick test positive and skin-prick negative children. Allergy 2002; 57(3): 247-253

     

    "Dividing the participants into SPT-negative and SPT-positive patient groups led to the result that SPT-negative patients did not display any association with the use of synthetic bedding. On the other hand, the use of synthetic bedding led to an increased risk of asthma and allergic rhinoconjuctivits among SPT-positive patients. In the case-control study conducted among 8- to 10-year-old children by Ponsonby et al. the group of controls was not clearly defined and the chronological factor was not discussed."

     

     Rylander, E./Pershagen, Parental smoking and other risk factors for wheezing bronchitis in children. Eur J Epidemiol 1993; 9(5): 517-526

     

    "The use of feather-/down-bed linen in the parents’ beds seemed to have a protective effect concerning the development of wheezing symptoms among the children. This was tested by Rylander et al. among children aged > 18 months. Younger children did not display this effect. A distortion of the results cannot be excluded, as the tested patients were hospital cases."
 
  • Protective effect

    Nafstad, P./Nystad, W./Jaakkola, J. J. K., The use of a feather quilt, childhood asthma and allergic rhinitis: A prospective cohort study. Clin Exp Allergy 2002; 32(8): 1150-1154

     

    "A birth cohort study carried out by Nafstad et al. showed a protective effect when the feather bedding was used until the age of 24 months. The longer the feather bedding was used, the lower the risk to contract asthma at the age of 4. One could raise the question, whether the time frame for the diagnosis was adequate, as asthmatic symptoms during childhood may disappear by themselves."

     

     Moscato, G./Perfetti, L./Galdi, E./Pozzi, V./Minoia, C., Levels of house-dust-mite allergen in homes of nonallergic people in Pavia, Italy. Allergy 2000; 55:873-878

    "Mattresses display a significantly higher content of Der p 1, when synthetic pillows are being used instead of pillows made of wool or feathers."
     
    Hallam, C./Custovic, A./Simpson, B./Houghton, N./Simpson, A./Woodcock, A., Mite allergens in feather and synthetic pillows. Allergy 1999; 54: 401-408

    "By replacing synthetic pillows with pillows made of different materials or by encasing pillows, the prevalence or the severity of asthma symptoms could be reduced."

    On the basis of the evaluated studies the Allergy Prevention Action Alliance stated the following:

    "In conclusion, the so called encasing [the protection of the bedding with mite-proof covers] is an effective method to reduce the concentrations of house-dust-mites. Furthermore, regularly changing and washing the bed linen at a temperature of at least 55 oC/131 oF as well as the use of feather bedding show a rather protective effect on the development of asthma and allergy symptoms.“(Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie [Evidence-based and consented guideline on allergy prevention]. München 2005, S. 66 [p.66])

    The Medical Association of German Allergologists (Ärzteverband Deutscher Allergologen e. V.) applies the results of the evaluated trials not only to prevention. Referring to the guideline on allergy prevention the Association even issues the above mentioned recommendation for house-dust-mite sufferers, that – contrary to the recommendations given so far – synthetic bedding is not beneficial, using natural materials such as down and feathers would be better.

 

 
Hausstaubmilbenallergie

Are house-dust-mites an indicator of a lack of cleanliness?

No, they are not. House-dust-mites are natural, harmless cohabitants, which reside in all parts of human dwellings. Only areas located at altitudes of more than 5,000 ft. above sea level, deserts or arctic regions are almost free of house-dust-mites, as the living conditions in these zones are unfit for the mites.
 
Yet, it is necessary to keep the number of mites as small as possible and to avoid contact with the mite faeces for the most part, if possible.
 

Further information at :

No, they are not. House-dust-mites are natural, harmless cohabitants, which reside in all parts of human dwellings. Only areas located at altitudes of more than 5,000 ft. above sea level, deserts or arctic regions are almost free of house-dust-mites, as the living conditions in these zones are unfit for the mites.
 
Yet, it is necessary to keep the number of mites as small as possible and to avoid contact with the mite faeces for the most part, if possible.
 

Further information at :

NOMITE Hausstaubmilbenallergie

What does NOMITE stand for?

 
Bedding articles which carry the NOMITE label are suitable for house-dust-mite allergy sufferers.
 
Scientific research on bedding articles filled with down and feathers shows that the down- and feather-fillings were virtually mite-free.
In 1992, Prof. Dr. Dr.
 
Bedding articles which carry the NOMITE label are suitable for house-dust-mite allergy sufferers.
 
Scientific research on bedding articles filled with down and feathers shows that the down- and feather-fillings were virtually mite-free.
In 1992, Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Jürgens, director of the Institute for Industrial Anthropology at the Kiel University, carried out a survey which included 700 field tests. He researched to which degree down- and feather-filled bedding articles were infested with house-dust-mites.
Jürgens found out the following:
He could not detect any mite populations at all in new pillows and duvets; the used bedding articles he included in the tests displayed a very low infestation rate.
Out of the 192 samples collected from used pillows, the testing on 78 % resulted completely negative regarding the mite allergen concentration. The remaining 22 % of test specimens displayed mite concentrations so low that they qualified to be harmless to health from an allergological point of view (less than 10 mites per 0.1 g of dust).
 
 
Even the additional testing carried out on a selection of 41 particularly soiled bedding articles, which had not been cleaned for at least 15 years – and in many cases even for a much longer time – confirmed these results. Although some of the samples were mite-infested, their allergen contents proved to be harmless to health, as well.

Another test revealed that the tightly woven ticking fabric which encases the down- and feather-filled pillows and duvets further reduces the mites’ already low tendency to migrate and settle in new habitats. From the same test it emerged that the ticking fabric provides an additional barrier against the mite infestation of bedding articles.
 
H. W. Jürgens, Ökologische Untersuchungen zu Hausstaubmilben (1992), Der Kinderarzt 23, 1884-1889
 
 
These testing results can be attributed to two fundamental reasons:
  • The down-proof tickings which cover a pillow or a duvet act as a proper “barrier” to mites. The shells are very tightly woven in order to prevent down and feathers from leaking out. Neither house-dust-mites or nor human skin scales, on which the mites feed, can pass through the ticking fabric.
     
  • In addition, the thermal and climatic conditions in down- and feather-filled pillows and duvets are highly unfavourable to mites, which depend on humidity to survive. The quick creation of warmth in one’s sleep and the quick reduction of humidity when the bedding is aired make for an environment which is detrimental to mites..
The temperatures in down- and feather-filled duvets rise very fast above the value where mites thrive. When you tuck yourself in, it gets too hot for the mites. In the following stage the humidity which was absorbed by the duvet will quickly be released, due to the favourable climate dynamics of the filling. As a result the humidity level drops swiftly below the critical value where mites comfortably survive: it gets too dry for the mites.


H. W. Jürgens, Ökologische Untersuchungen zu Hausstaubmilben (1992), Der Kinderarzt 23, 1884-1889
www.nomite.de/juerg_de.htm

The German magazine ÖKO-TEST states on the topic: “Mites do not like these variations in temperature. They prefer constant temperatures, such as the ones you would find in synthetic bedding articles. The precondition for this, however, is that the down and feathers are properly treated. They are therefore washed with a sort of curd soap, then spun and dried at a temperature over 100 oC (212 oF) before they are filled into the shells.“

The results of this study have in the meantime been confirmed by further surveys. By now the Medical Association of German Allergologists (Ärzteverband Deutscher Allergologen e. V., ÄDA) recommends the following: “Contrary to what has so far been recommended, synthetic bedding is not favourable, it is preferable to use natural materials, such as down and feathers.“ With this statement the Medical Association refers to the guideline on Allergy prevention by the German Allergy Prevention Action Alliance (Aktionsbündnis Allergieprävention) issued in 2004.
Borowski, C., Schäfer, T., Allergieprävention. Evidenzbasierte und konsentierte Leitlinie. München 2005

Further information on the Internet:

 

 
Hausstaubmilbenallergie Haustierallergien

What is an allergy?

An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to certain substances, which are called exogenous, because they come from outside the body. These substances, the allergens, are, for example animal hair, pollen, mould fungi or the excrement of the house-dust-mite.
 
Normally, the immune system protects the human body from pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.
An allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to certain substances, which are called exogenous, because they come from outside the body. These substances, the allergens, are, for example animal hair, pollen, mould fungi or the excrement of the house-dust-mite.
 
Normally, the immune system protects the human body from pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. In the case of an allergy, the reaction by the immune system is also called “over-reactive” because the system responds to substances, which are actually harmless to our bodies. According to conservative estimates by the German Allergy and Asthma Association (Deutscher Allergie- und Asthmabund e.V.), around 20,000 substances are known to have allergenic, i.e. allergy-triggering effects. They cause allergic symptoms around the eyes, in the respiratory system, on the skin and in the gastrointestinal tract. Most allergens are protein substances of animal or vegetable origin, for instance from flower pollen, mites or mould fungi.
www.daab.de/was_ist_all.php
 
Hausstaubmilbenallergie

What is a house-dust-mite allergy?

It is not the mite itself which causes the allergy symptoms, but its excrement instead.
 
Mites are tiny, spider-like animals, which are not visible to the naked eye. They can be found all over the world; only areas which are situated more than 5,000 ft. above sea level are virtually mite-free. Thus, house-dust-mites are not an indicator of a lack of cleanliness!
 
Mites thrive at constant temperatures of about 25 oC (77 oF) and at a relative humidity of around 70 percent.
It is not the mite itself which causes the allergy symptoms, but its excrement instead.
 
Mites are tiny, spider-like animals, which are not visible to the naked eye. They can be found all over the world; only areas which are situated more than 5,000 ft. above sea level are virtually mite-free. Thus, house-dust-mites are not an indicator of a lack of cleanliness!
 
Mites thrive at constant temperatures of about 25 oC (77 oF) and at a relative humidity of around 70 percent. Therefore, the warm bed climate makes for particularly favourable living conditions for mites. The human body provides warmth and the necessary humidity via perspiration throughout the night.
Moreover, there is plenty of food: house-dust-mites live on the scales of human skin. Every human being loses up to 1 gram of skin scales per day, which is enough to feed thousands of mites.
 
It is the substances contained in the mite excrement which actually trigger the allergy. It brings about symptoms such as coughing, cold or watering eyes. These ailments occur especially during the night and in the morning.
 
Roughly from May on, when the air becomes more humid and temperatures rise, the mites start to proliferate heavily. House-dust-mite population numbers peak during the fall. The dropping temperatures at the beginning of winter and the drier air as a result of the indoor heating, cause many mites to die. Their faeces, however, have accumulated during the summer and are then circulated within the apartments and houses by the warm air from the heating. This is the reason why house-dust-mite allergy sufferers show increased symptoms particularly in the fall and winter.
 
Mites belong to the class of arachnids or spider-like animals. The house-dust-mites (pyroglyphidae) grow up to ca. 0.1 to 0.5 mm in size. Of the four different species that can be found all over the world, dermatophaoides pteronyssimus is the most relevant for allergy sufferers.
 
This house-dust-mite produces the allergen which is called “Der p1“. The process involves a kind of symbiosis the mite forms with certain species of fungi and bacteria. House-dust-mites are not capable of directly using the fatty scales of the human skin on which they feed. The skin scales must first of all be “pre-digested“ by the bacteria. Only then can they be ingested by the mites. Bacteria inside the mites’ intestines further digest the scales. The by-products, which remain at the end of this digestive process, are the allergenic protein components. By friction, the allergy-causing mite excrement splits into very small particles, which may mix with the house dust and enter the respiratory system.
 
House-dust-mites are the second most frequent trigger of allergic diseases of the respiratory tract (at 38.3 percent after pollen at 85.9 percent) in Germany.
K. C. Bergmann/G. Albrecht/P. Fischer: Atemwegsallergiker in Deutschland. Ergeb­nisse der Studie Allergy Living & Learning. Allergologie 2002; 3: 137-146