Skip to content

    Allergies Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Dust Mites: Is Resistance Futile?

    Decimating Dust Mites Doesn't Stop Asthma, but Doctors Not Deterred

    Mite Resistance Not Futile, Allergists Say

    Even though researchers were able to significantly reduce dust-mite allergens in several studies, Gotzsche and Johansen note that this did not help people's asthma.

    "The explanation that we find most plausible for the lack of effect of the interventions is, therefore, that the methods we have reviewed do not adequately reduce mite antigen levels," they write. "Mite-sensitive asthmatic patients are usually sensitive to other allergens, so that successful elimination of only one allergen may have limited benefit, whatever its success."

    That last phrase is key, says allergist Leonard Bielory, MD, director of the asthma research center at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark.

    "Getting rid of dust mites alone is not the answer," Bielory tells WebMD. "When we discover that patients have dust-mite allergy, we tell them it is rarely just dust mites."

    Allergist Jonathan A. Bernstein, MD, of the University of Cincinnati, bristles at the suggestion that mite resistance is futile for allergic people.

    "You have to recognize that people can be sensitive to multiple allergens -- as well as to non-allergic triggers such as odorants, irritating chemicals, tobacco smoke, mildew, and things of that nature," Bernstein tells WebMD. "So these studies with just one or even two or three interventions are fraught with limitations. Just to target dust mites and then to say these interventions don't work is out of context with patients' real lives."

    Over time, Bielory and Bernstein insist, reducing allergens in the home and in the office will help patients suffering from dust-mite allergy and asthma. They say reducing dust mites is a good place to start.

    How to Fight the Mite

    It's really not feasible to permanently rid your house of dust mites, says Greg Baumann, senior scientist for the National Pest Management Association.

    "They are here to stay for sure," Baumann tells WebMD. "The pest control industry really does not deal with dust mites because there are so few products out there professionals can use. They are very, very hard to control. You do not have any magic wand to wave."

    Entomologist Ron Harrison, PhD, director of training for the pest-control firm Orkin Inc., agrees with Baumann.

    Today on WebMD

    man blowing nose
    Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
    Allergy capsule
    Breathe easier with these products.
     
    cat on couch
    Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
    Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
    Which ones affect you?
     

    blowing nose
    Article
    woman with sore throat
    Article
     
    lone star tick
    Slideshow
    Woman blowing nose
    Slideshow
     

    Send yourself a link to download the app.

    Loading ...

    Please wait...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    Thanks!

    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

    cat lying on shelf
    Article
    Allergy prick test
    VIDEO
     
    Man sneezing into tissue
    Assessment
    Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
    Quiz