There is no evidence that measures to reduce exposure to house dust mites (a tiny organism found in house dust) are of any benefit for people with asthma. This was the conclusion of a recent Cochrane review
(an analysis of all the latest scientific evidence).
Many people with asthma are sensitive to the house dust mite (pictured) and have find that dust exacerbates their symptoms. Doctors have traditionally recommended strategies to reduce dust mite exposure in these patients, for example:
- Using special mattress and pillow covers
- Regular washing of sheets and pillow cases in hot water
- Removing soft toys from bedrooms
- Damp dusting hard surfaces
- Replacing carpets with hard floors
- Using chemical sprays and powders to kill mites
However, this recent extensive analysis of 54 scientific studies (3,002 patients) found that these measures to avoid dust mite exposure did not improve asthma symptoms or breathing tests and did not reduce the amount of asthma medication used.
The National Asthma Council
still advises dust mite avoidance measures in its official guidelines, but many experts now feel that they should no longer be recommended as there is no proof that they are effective.