Replacing old mattresses and ventilating bedrooms
can cut levels of allergy-causing dust mites,
a major new study finds.
In the study, researchers analyzed more than
3,500 samples of dust from homes in 22 sites
A team from the Institute of Medical Research,
in Barcelona, checked for levels of two types
of common dust mites. They also looked at factors
that influenced the levels of dust mite allergens
in each home.
Der 1 and Der 2 dust mite allergens were found
in 68 percent and 53 percent, respectively,
of all samples. Risk factors for high levels
of these allergens included an older mattress;
a bedroom on a lower floor level; and limited
ventilation of the bedroom. For one type of
dust mite, the level of dampness in the bedroom
was also a factor.
The researchers concluded that regular mattress
replacement and increased ventilation in the
bedroom, particularly in winter, could help
reduce dust mite allergen exposure.
The study is published online in the Journal
of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Another study found that cat allergens may
still be present in homes without cats.
German scientists at the National Research Center
for Environmental Health, in Neuherberg, analyzed
dust samples from 2,800 mattresses.
Not surprisingly, they found that homes with
cats had much higher levels of cat allergens
than households that had cats in the past and
those that never had cats.
However, households that never had cats can
still have high levels of cat allergens if they're
located in communities where many people have
cats. People can bring cat allergens home on
their clothes, the researchers explained.
They also found a link between indoor smoking
and higher levels of cat allergens. This may
be because cat allergens can bind to smoking-related
particulate, which results in increased allergen
concentrations in settled dust.