Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Simple Steps Can Reduce Dust Mite Allergens In Bedrooms

Date:
August 7, 2001
Source:
NIH/National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences
Summary:
Some simple steps - allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers, weekly laundering of other bedding and very careful vacuuming and dry steam cleaning of bedroom carpets and upholstery -- can significantly reduce the levels of dust mite allergens in bedrooms, scientists with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the University of Washington and Harvard University reported.

August 6, 2001 -- Some simple steps - allergen-proof mattress and pillow covers, weekly laundering of other bedding and very careful vacuuming and dry steam cleaning of bedroom carpets and upholstery -- can significantly reduce the levels of dust mite allergens in bedrooms, scientists with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the University of Washington and Harvard University reported today.

Dust mites are microscopic spider-like creatures that feed on flakes of human skin and reside in bedding, carpets, upholstery, draperies and other "dust traps." Dust mite allergens - substances which can cause an allergic reaction -- are proteins found in the mite's feces

The purpose of the study was to evaluate practical methods for lowering these allergens in bedrooms of low income, urban homes. Thirty-nine homes in Seattle, Washington, were studied. Pillows, box springs, and mattresses were encased with allergen-impermeable covers. Bedding was washed weekly in hot water either in the home or professionally. Carpets received a single treatment of intensive vacuuming plus dry steam cleaning or intensive vacuuming alone. Upholstered furniture received either dry steam cleaning or intensive vacuuming.

The results were published today in the online version of the journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Environmental Health Perspectives, and will appear in the August issue of the journal. The senior author of the report is Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., of NIEHS, one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health.

Recent studies have shown that exposure to house dust mite allergens is a significant risk factor for the development of allergic diseases, such as asthma and rhinitis (hay fever). NIEHS' Dr. Zeldin said, "Results from an earlier study suggest that over 45 percent of U.S. homes, or approximately 44 million dwellings, have bedding with dust mite allergen concentrations that exceed a level that has been associated with allergic sensitization. We estimated that 22 million homes have bedding with dust mite allergen concentrations at a level that can trigger asthma in susceptible people. So we were eager to test ways to reduce these troublesome substances."

The researchers found that the interventions significantly reduced house dust mite allergen concentrations. The use of allergen-proof covers and either professional or in-home laundering of bedding reduced allergen levels in beds. Both dry steam cleaning plus vacuuming and vacuuming alone lowered allergen levels in carpets. Vacuuming and dry steam cleaning each reduced allergen levels in upholstered furniture. Dry steam cleaning machines have recently become available for home use.

"The decreases in dust mite allergens following a single vacuuming did not last as long as decreases following dry steam cleaning and vacuuming. We believe that the hot dry steam kills the mites, and the vacuuming removes them from the carpet," Dr. Zeldin said.

While the vacuuming and steam cleaning procedures reduced allergen concentrations below the levels believed to trigger asthma symptoms, the interventions did not reduce the concentrations below the levels associated with allergic sensitization. Sensitization - the process by which the body's recognition of a particular allergen leads to a physical response - is the first step in allergy development. "In order to obtain allergen measurements below the sensitization level, people may need to do additional things such as remove carpeting from the floors, replace upholstered furniture with leather or vinyl covered furniture, and reduce humidity levels in the house," Dr. Zeldin said. "However, such a bare-bones home may be less desirable to the residents. In the meantime, more research is needed on inexpensive alternatives for maintaining long-term allergen control."

Other researchers on the allergen study include Sandra Randels and James Stout, Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, Michael Muilenberg and Harriet Burge, Ph.D., Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Henry Lynn, Ph.D. and Herman Mitchell, Ph.D., Rho, Incorporated, Chapel Hill, N.C.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences. "Study Shows Simple Steps Can Reduce Dust Mite Allergens In Bedrooms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010807080452.htm>.
NIH/National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences. (2001, August 7). Study Shows Simple Steps Can Reduce Dust Mite Allergens In Bedrooms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010807080452.htm
NIH/National Institute Of Environmental Health Sciences. "Study Shows Simple Steps Can Reduce Dust Mite Allergens In Bedrooms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010807080452.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins