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Keywords:

  • acaricide;
  • allergens;
  • allergen avoidance;
  • asthma prevention;
  • Der p 1;
  • impermeable mattress covers

Background:  In temperate climates, exposure to house dust mite (HDM) allergens is the strongest environmental risk factor for childhood asthma. Environmental modifications to limit exposure have the potential to reduce the prevalence of asthma. The aim of this study was to reduce allergen exposure for children at high risk of developing asthma.

Methods:  A total of 616 pregnant women were randomized to HDM intervention and control groups. The control group had no special recommendations whereas the intervention group was given allergen impermeable mattress covers and an acaricidal washing detergent for bedding. Children were visited regularly until 18 months of age to have dust collected from their bed.

Results:  Der p 1 concentrations in the control group increased from 5.20 μg/g at 1 month to 22.18 μg/g at 18 months but remained low in the intervention group, ranging from 3.27 μg/g at 1 month to 6.12 μg/g at 18 months.

Conclusions:  In a high HDM allergen environment, a combined approach using physical barriers and an acaricidal wash, is effective in reducing HDM allergen concentrations in bedding. However, even with these control measures in place, HDM allergen levels remained high by international standards.