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Lung Disorders

2004 Edition

New Research:
Dust Mite Covers Alone Not Effective for Asthma

Mattress and pillow covers designed to decrease dust mites in bed do not improve asthma symptoms or reduce the need for asthma medications when used without other strategies to avoid dust mites.

This conclusion is based on data from 1,122 Britons with asthma who were randomized to receive either dust-mite impermeable mattress and pillow covers or standard polyester/cotton covers (the control group). About two thirds of people in each group were dust-mite sensitive.

After six months, both groups had similar improvements in morning peak expiratory flow rate, regardless of whether they were dust-mite sensitive or not. After one year, about 17% of people in each group were able to stop using inhaled corticosteroids, and each group showed similar reductions in the amount of corticosteroids they required. These improvements were probably the result of behavioral changes triggered by participation in the study.

According to an accompanying editorial, people with asthma may require changes in addition to using bed covers, such as learning to avoid triggers, defining what exactly triggers symptoms, and making “large-scale” changes in living conditions.

The New England Journal of Medicine
Volume 349, pages 207 and 225
July 17, 2003


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Lung Disorders

The Lung Disorders White Paper from the Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Johns Hopkins physicians.



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