How can patients with asthma avoid dust mites?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: John J Oppenheimer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

The primary allergen associated with dust mites is an intestinal enzyme on fecal particles. The allergen settles on fabric because of its relatively large size; therefore, air filtration is not very effective.

Measures to avoid dust mites include using impervious covers (eg, on mattresses, pillows, comforters, the most important intervention), washing other bedding in hot water (the most effective temperature being 130°F [54.4°C]), removing rugs from the bedroom, limiting upholstered furniture, reducing the number of window drapery, and putting clothing away in closets and drawers. Other measures include minimizing the number of soft toys and either washing them weekly or periodically putting them in the freezer. Decreasing room humidity (< 50%) is another means of reducing exposure to avoid dust mites.

Conclusions from a Cochrane Review study indicated that acaricides and extensive, bedroom-based environmental control programs may help to reduce rhinitis symptoms. If such measures are considered appropriate, they should be the interventions of choice. However, analysis also indicated that the isolated use of bedding that is impermeable to house dust mites is not likely to be effective in reducing rhinitis symptoms caused by dust mites. [34]


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