Mechanisms and patient compliance of dust-mite avoidance regimens in dwellings of mite-allergic rhinitic patients


Present address and correspondence: Dr F. M. Kniest, Indoor Medical Biology Research Center(GHK), Rheinallee 96, 6500 Mainz, Germany.


We report on the mechanisms, the environmental changes and patient compliance with regard to conventional and new dust and mite avoidance measures to prevent allergic symptoms caused by mite allergens, taking into account both allergen contamination and the developmental success of pyroglyphid Acari. Twenty patients with persisting rhinitic complaints were selected and matched. Although the patients had performed some conventional dust and mite avoidance measures (patient compliance was 90%), the dwellings proved to be a stimulus for mite development. Moisture problems due to faulty construction and excessive moisture production were common. Since humidity conditions could not be changed at short notice, the 20 homes were subjected to the new variants of mite allergen avoidance based on intensive cleaning without (control) and with an acaricide incorporated (acaricidal cleaner [Acarosan]). After the carrying out of conventional avoidance measures, these patients still had allergic symptoms, and dust from only 23 to 52% of their textile objects was under the proposed guanine (mite faeces indicator) risk level. Only the acaricidal cleaner was able to decrease the allergenic mite load (and the burden of the patients) significantly in this 12 month period. With respect to mite-extermination, acaricidal cleaning was 88% better than intensive cleaning. Reduction of guanine was 38% better in the Acarosan treatment group.

Clinical results have been reported elsewhere. A significant difference in favour of the acaricidal cleaning was seen in both subjective (as regards symptoms) and in objective data (total IgE). Another 50 patients were questioned. About 90% were willing to spend two weekends (70%), or at the most one weekend (20%) per year sanitizing the dwelling by cleaning it with the whole family.

The authors of this report consider acaricidal cleaning to be a significant improvement in the management of mite-allergic diseases, such as rhinitis. Compared with the replacement of home textiles, this treatment is less expensive and more effective. Patient compliance is acceptable, but depends on acceptance by physicians and the initial motivation and consequent burden on the patient.