Background: Asthma is a common chronic disease of childhood. House dust mite (HDM) are known to be a major source of allergen affecting atopic asthmatics. No single control method has been demonstrated to consistently reduce asthma.
Objective: We investigated the effect of a combination of two methods of HDM allergen control on HDM allergen content in the bedding and carpets of asthmatic children.
Methods: This was a double-blind placebo-controlled trial treating the bedrooms of 56 mite-sensitive asthmatic children. The carpet and the mattress, duvet and pillows (bedding) in the bedroom of children of the active group were treated with the acaricide Acarosan (benzyl benzoate). The bedding was then encased in vapour permeable waterproof fabric (Intervent--cotton coated with polyurethane) for 24 weeks. The carpet and bedding of the control group were treated with placebo and the bedding encased in cotton covers for 24 weeks. Dust samples were collected from all these items in a standard manner at regular intervals and Der p I content analysed.
Results: The group with active treatment had a median reduction of 480 ng (100%) in mite allergen from the mattress vs 215 ng (53%) reduction in placebo-treated group by 6 weeks. The Der p I content of the active group's bedding was always less than the placebo group after treatment (P < 0.01). The acaricide applied to the carpets or inside the mattress covers was ineffective in reducing allergen content.
Conclusion: This study confirms the effectiveness of encasing covers in reducing the mite allergen exposure but indicates there is no further advantage in applying acaricide simultaneously.