Dust Mites do Cause Allergies

Physical and chemical dust mite controls improved asthma symptoms

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Dust mites are a common cause for asthma in children. For parents, simple control measure around the house can help manage a child's asthma.

Simple environmental controls for dust mites can help asthmatic children who are allergic to dust mites. Physical and chemical controls for dust mites reduced asthma symptoms in children and helped decrease the severity of asthma.

"Ask your doctor about what mattress and pillow encasing can help reduce allergies."

The study involved 160 children with asthma who were allergic to dust mites and was led by Engy M. A. El-Ghitany from the Tropical Health Department, High Institute of Public Health at Alexandria University in Egypt.

The children were separated into four groups, one group had chemical controls for dice mites, another group had physical controls, a third group had combined physical and chemical controls and a fourth group did not use physical or chemical intervention and acted as the study's control group.

Chemical control of dust mites included the use of tannic acid. Tannic acid has been recommended to negate dust mite allergens. It does not kill dust mites rather it neutralizes the dust mite protein that children are allergic to. Physical controls include mattress encasings and allergy barrier bedding.

Researchers used forced expiratory volume after one second (FEV1) and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) tests to determine lung function. The study followed the children for 16 weeks and measured a child's asthma at eight weeks and at 16 weeks.

The physical control group had a decrease in the number of children with severe asthma, from 45 percent at the start of the study down to 22 percent at the eight week follow-up. Results were similar for children in the combined chemical and physical control group. The children in the chemical control group had a decrease in moderate asthma cases, from 15 children down to 11 children, and severe asthma cases, from 15 children down to 7 children.

Future studies can include more asthmatic children as well as a longer study duration. Researchers note that when the four groups were compared, only the FEV1, not the PEFR, results showed significant difference in lung function improvement.

For parents whose asthmatic children are allergic to dust mites, researchers recommend simple physical controls to help improve asthma symptoms. Using tannic acid or mattress encasings are easy and cost- effective ways in controlling your child's asthma. 

No funding information was provided. No author conflicts were reported.

This study was published in the February edition of Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 6, 2012
Last Updated:
February 10, 2012