Allergies are becoming more prevalent in the United States. Food allergies are on the rise: one in 50 infants will be diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Seasonal and pet allergies are also increasing with 10% of children having some type of seasonal allergy. With wool becoming so popular for cloth diapering, many parents are wondering if wool should be avoided because of the potential risk of allergy. A true allergy to wool is extremely uncommon: but reactions to wool can occur.
Reactions to wool are usually caused by course wool fibers irritating the skin. The weave of the wool, the quality of the wool, and the manufacturing of the wool all vary the softness and feel of the fiber. Many types of low-grade wool can be irritating to the skin because the texture is mildly course. Babies are especially sensitive to course fabrics because their skin is up to five times thinner than adult skin. In order to avoid irritation from scratchy wool, select high-quality wools for use in cloth diapering. Finely woven wools; such as Rambouillet, Cormo, or Merino; are good choices because they can be lightly spun into thin fibers.
|Merino wool is an excellent choice for wool diaper covers because of the fine weave and knit. Diaper covers from Sloomb-Sustainablebabyish [aff id] are made with high-quality merino wool.|
Children with diagnosed cases of eczema may do well to avoid wool clothing. Because wool diaper covers are washed infrequently, wool may harbor potential allergens such as pet dander and dust. Lanolin, a waxy substance that gives wool its waterproof characteristics, is also a potential allergen. Lanolin is frequently used in creams and lotions, and reactions to wool or lanolin-containing products may indicate that lanolin should be avoided. Up-cycled or re-purposed wool may also cause a reaction in children with allergies. An old wool sweater re-purposed into a diaper cover may contain traces or cigarette smoke or fragrances. Children with eczema may do well with nylon diaper covers: these offer more breathability than other types of cloth diaper waterproofing and they are washed more frequently than wool. Although wool may cause a reaction for some individuals, the vast majority of children can use wool diaper covers of any variety with no issues.
Disclosure: This post is not intended to diagnose or treat a medical condition. Consult your doctor for concerns about allergies, skin sensitivities, and other health issues.