07 October, 2015
Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies. People with allergies have trouble breathing or suffer from tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
Most allergies result mainly from very small creatures called dust mites. Dust mites live in bedding.
Now, scientists in Poland say they have successfully tested cloth that the microscopic creatures cannot pass through.
Most of us share our beds with thousands of dust mites. Each mite is just one-third of a millimeter wide.
Along with dust around the home, we breathe in waste from these creatures. Mite droppings contain enzymes called proteases. Enzymes produce chemical reactions in the body. Proteases can cause allergic reactions like breathlessness, coughing or severe asthma attacks.
Dust mites are hard to remove because they can easily pass through small openings in bedding. But that is not the case with the new fabric developed at the Medical University of Lodz in Poland. The fabric stops the mites, but it still lets air pass through the material.
Allergy sufferers who tested the cloth say the allergic symptoms were reduced up to 70 percent. They told the researchers that they can finally sleep normally. Up until now, they could not even lie in their beds because they suffered from asthma attacks, and also had trouble breathing and watery eyes.
Researchers say repeated washing did not reduce the anti-allergic quality of the new fabric. They expect that after additional testing, it will be ready for the market.
For now, dust allergy sufferers are advised to keep their homes dry, clean up floors often and wash their bedding in hot water.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
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VOA's George Putic reported this story from Washington. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
allergy – n. a medical condition that causes someone to become sick after eating, touching, or breathing something that is harmless to most people
asthma – n. a physical condition that makes it difficult for someone to breathe
enzyme – n. a chemical substance in animals and plants that helps to cause natural processes
coughing – n. forcing air through your throat with a short, loud noise
fabric – n. a piece of cloth or textile