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New mattresses: how fast do they become a significant source of exposure to house dust mite allergens?


Dr A Woodcock, North West Lung Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Southmoor Road, Manchester M23 9LE UK.


Background Sensitization and exposure to mile allergens is a major risk factor for asthma. Little is known about the rate of build-up of allergens in the mite microhabitats.

Objectives To investigate the rate of increase in mite allergen levels in new mattresses.

Methods Der p 1 was measured in the dust samples collected from six identical new single mattresses over a period of 2 years.

Results Der p 1 increased significantly at 4 months as compared with baseline level (P < 0.01), but no difference was found between the concentrations at 4. 8, 12 and 24 months. There was a significant correlation between Der p 1 concentration in mattresses at 4.8, 12 and 24 months and Der p 1 levels in the bedroom carpet at the beginning of the study.

Conclusions New mattresses can become a significant source of exposure to mite allergens after a short period of time (< 4 months). There is little justification for advising mite sensitive patients to replace their mattresses as a part of avoidance regime.

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