Studies of avoidance of exposure to group 1 allergens of the Dermatophagoides group (Der p 1) have not yielded consistent improvements in adult asthma through avoidance. We explored whether the use of pillow and bed covers and allergen-avoidance counseling resulted in Der 1-level reduction, as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and thus improved asthma symptoms in adult patients.
Twenty-five adult patients with moderate or severe atopic asthma were randomized into intervention and control groups. Intervention patients slept on pillows and mattresses or futons encased in microfine-fiber covers and were counseled in allergen avoidance through bedroom cleaning. Control patients received neither special covers nor counseling. In the period August to October in 2009 (pre-intervention) and 2010 (post-intervention), dust samples were collected in open Petri dishes placed in bedrooms for 2 weeks and by rapid lifting of dust from bedding and skin using adhesive tape on the morning of 1 day of Petri dish placement. We examined the associations between changes in Der 1 level (as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and clinical symptom score, minimum % peak expiratory flow, and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide.
Der 1 allergen levels on the mattress/futon covers and near the floor of the bedrooms of intervention patients, but not controls, were lower in 2010 than in 2009. From 2009 to 2010, asthma symptom scores decreased significantly, and minimum % peak expiratory flow increased significantly, in intervention patients. The fall in Der p 1 concentration was correlated with a reduction in the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide.
Minimization of Der 1 allergen exposure by encasing pillows and mattresses or futons and receiving counseling on avoiding exposure to indoor allergens improved asthma control in adult patients.