Controlling indoor allergens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Reading of this article reinforces the reader's knowledge of the role of allergen exposure in relation to asthma and its severity, as well as the relevance of allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma. Data Sources: Initial literature search for existing evidence-based guidelines, reviews, and meta-analyses was carried out, and further literature searches were performed to review individual randomized controlled trials. Evidence level was graded according to the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network recommendations. Results: There is good evidence for the link between mite and cockroach allergen exposure and sensitization, and between sensitization and asthma. For pet allergens, some studies found that exposure to pets in early life was associated with specific immunoglobulin E sensitization and allergic disease later in childhood, whereas others reported a protective effect. The effectiveness of allergen reduction in the treatment of asthma is suggested by studies in which the patients improve substantially when moved into the low-allergen environment of hospitals or high-altitude sanatoria. Because of limitations in the design of the most clinical of studies, we do not yet have a conclusive answer on the effectiveness of domestic aeroallergen avoidance. Conclusions: Minimizing the impact of identified environmental risk factors is an important first step to reduce the severity of asthma. Although environmental control is difficult, it should be an integral part of the overall management of sensitized patients. However, what is unclear is which patients would benefit and by how much, and whether the intervention is cost-effective. These questions will be answered satisfactorily only by large randomized trials.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-442
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002