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House dust mite control measures in the treatment of asthma

Authors Gillian Vallance, Charles McSharry, Stuart Wood, Neil C Thomson

Published 15 December 2006 Volume 2006:2(4) Pages 347—354

Gillian Vallance1, Charles McSharry2, Stuart Wood3, Neil C Thomson1

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, and 2Department of Immunology, Division of Immunology, Infection and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK; 3Section of General Practice, Division of Community-Based Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK

Abstract: Sensitization to the house dust mite (Dermataphagoides pteronyssinus) (HDM) is the most common risk factor associated with the development of asthma in adults and children. The effectiveness of HDM control measures in the treatment of asthma is not yet proven. The strategies for control for avoidance depend on our understanding of the biology of the HDM. The evidence suggests a favorable effect of transferring allergic asthmatic children to naturally low dust mite environments, such as at altitude or in hospital, but little to suggest that this can be replicated in general practice by simple practical measures such as mattress covers. However, a recent multi-allergen reduction approach has suggested benefits may be achievable. HDM densities tend to be high in warm, humid conditions in the home, which may be modified by external factors, such as ventilation. However, ventilation control to reduce indoor humidity has had inconsistent effects on dust mite levels and asthma. The challenge is to further refine the interventions in large placebo-controlled trials such that clinical outcomes may be more easily demonstrated.

Keywords: house dust mite, asthma, allergy, control

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