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Allergy. 1998;53(48 Suppl):108-14.

House dust mite exposure as a risk factor for asthma: benefits of avoidance.

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Institute of Respiratory Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia.


There is a dose-response relation between the level of exposure to house dust mite allergen and the risk of acquiring sensitization to this allergen as well as the risk of developing asthma. This relation is apparent at levels of exposure below 10 microg/g. In communities where nearly all houses have house dust mite allergen levels above this threshold, all susceptible individuals will be affected, and the relation to house dust mite exposure will not be apparent. Although these observational data would suggest that reducing exposure to house dust mite allergen should lessen the risk of developing sensitization and asthma, definitive evidence from randomized controlled trials is not yet available. Of the many clinical trials of house dust mite avoidance as therapy for asthma, only a few have produced sustained, substantial reductions in allergen levels in the bed. These effective interventions all included allergen-impermeable encasement of mattresses along with other strategies. In most trials where allergens levels were successfully reduced, there were clinical benefits for patients with asthma.

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