Humidity regulation in the management of asthma patients sensitized to house dust mites.
Hyndman SJ., Brown DL., Ewan PW., Higenbottam TW., Maunder JW., Williams DR.
Substances in the faeces of house dust mites are well-recognized as common allergens in the pathogenesis of asthma. There have been many trials of interventions aimed at reducing mite populations in the home, but most have been uncontrolled, too small, or too short to determine with confidence any beneficial effects. Of those which succeeded, very few used methods which reduced mite populations on a permanent basis. House dust mites are sensitive to humidity. Their geographical distribution is closely correlated to the availability of moisture. Very little work has been done on the effects of reducing humidity in the home environment in the long term, with a view to controlling dust mite populations. Two different methods which might reduce humidities to levels which could successfully reduce dust mite numbers are dehumidifiers, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). To date there has been no work assessing the effectiveness of dehumidifiers and very little (although promising) work on MVHR. We discuss the potential of humidity control as an adjunct to the clinical treatment of asthma.