How big an issue are allergens from the house dust mite?
Well, one thing is for sure, they are widespread, being at detectable levels in practically every household - 96% of them to be more precise. And the other thing we know is that the higher the exposure to dust mite allergens, the greater the chance of developing asthma and the more severe the symptoms. This we know thanks to a few pieces of research.
The first was undertaken in Manchester in 2002 and indicates how widespread the dust mite allergen is. The mite allergen (Der P1) was measured in dust from a variety of locations – the living room floor, sofa, bedroom floor and mattress. Not surprisingly, the mattress was the favourite home of the dust mite allergen – and the older the mattress, the more likely the presence of the dust mite allergen.
Dust Mite Allergens were detected in 84% of U.S. Mattresses
These results are borne out by findings in a 2003 United States study that detected dust mite allergens in 84% of mattresses. The research team that completed this study asserted that ‘Levels (of dust mite allergens) previously associated with allergic sensitization and asthma are common in US bedrooms.’
The alarming thing about that statement is that the allergens are present in sufficient number to be associated with allergic sensitization, which is a precursor to developing an allergic reaction.
More Dust Mite Allergen, More Risk of Developing Asthma
“There is a direct relationship between the level of exposure to house dust mite allergen and the risk of sensitisation to this allergen as well as the risk of developing asthma”, according to the Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Sydney.
The Institute goes on to say:
Sensitization to indoor allergens and the spores of outdoor moulds is a risk factor for the development of asthma in children and adults.
In children and adults, sensitive to indoor allergens, the severity of asthma symptoms may vary with the level of exposure.
Reduction of exposure to house-dust mites has improved Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) results and reduction in airway inflammation and hyper-responsiveness in sensitive children and adults [Nelson 2000; Frew 2003a; Simpson and Custovic 2004].
In other words, the more dust mite allergens around you or your baby, the higher the chance of developing asthma and the more severe the symptoms will be. And if you can reduce your exposure, the symptoms will also be reduced.
So What is a Parent to do, Especially if Concerned about Minimising the Exposure for Infants?
Well, the Institute of Respiratory Medicine in Sydney gives us a real pointer:
“Of the many clinical trials of house dust mite avoidance as therapy for asthma, only a few have produced sustained, substantial reductions in allergen levels in the bed. These effective interventions all included allergen-impermeable encasement of mattresses along with other strategies. In most trials where allergens levels were successfully reduced, there were clinical benefits for patients with asthma.”
Could I have all that in English, please?
All of that may sound a bit ‘sciencey’, so let’s break down what has been proven by the scientists:
There is a direct link between the amount of dust mite allergen we are exposed to and the chance of developing asthma in children and adults
There is an awful lot of dust mite allergen found in the typical mattress
The only really effective way to lower the exposure to dust mite allergens in the cot mattress is to use an encasement strategy that is impervious to dust mites.
Pure Zees has the only baby mattress in the world that uses an encasement strategy that has been tested and proven effective against dust mites and pet dander.
So Where will I get one of those Allergen-Impermeable Encased Mattresses Thingummies?
Well, as it happens, the Pure Zees cot mattress uses an allergen-impermeable encasement of the mattress. Even better, it has been tested by one of the leading asthma and allergy foundations in the world (AAFA) and been found to be effective. You can buy the baby mattresses here on purezees.ie