Mite Fight May Not Help Asthma

Many patients who suffer from asthma have long been told that they can help their condition by reducing their exposure to common household dust mites. Now, research published in the British Medical Journal finds that advice may not be true. CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports.

Researchers looked at 23 studies in which various chemical and physical methods were used to try to reduce exposure to the mites. Nothing really seemed to work.

However, the report is a statistical analysis of studies that have already been done, and is controversial among doctors. Asthma experts warn that allergy sufferers should not stop taking the usual precautions against dust mites.

One allergist told CBS News that most patients who struggle with this problem do find relief by encasing their pillow, mattress, and box spring with special bedding, and by keeping the humidity low in their homes. Carpeting should also be avoided in favor of wood, tile, or polished floors.

If you suffer from asthma or allergies, talk to your doctor before you stop trying to control dust mites. There are also other ways to counter reactions to dust mites, including medication, special vacuum cleaners, and air filters.

While physicians who specialize in this field are debating the study, the analysis may help researchers in the future decide whether controlling dust mites in the modern way really makes an impact on asthma sufferers.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay