Indoor allergens, environmental avoidance, and allergic respiratory disease

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Indoor allergen exposure to sources such as house-dust mites, pets, fungi, and insects plays a significant role in patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. The identification of the major allergens has led to methods that can quantitate exposure, e.g., immunoassays for Der p 1 in settled dust samples. Sensitization and the development of allergic respiratory disease result from complex genetic and environmental interactions. New paradigms that examine the role of other environmental factors, including exposure to proteases that can activate eosinophils and initiate Th2 responses, and epigenetics, are being explored. Recommendations for specific environmental allergen avoidance measures are discussed for house-dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, and fungi. Specific measures to reduce indoor allergen exposure when vigorously applied may reduce the risk of sensitization and symptoms of allergic respiratory disease, although further research will be necessary to establish cost-effective approaches.

Keywords: Allergen avoidance; allergic respiratory diseases; environmental control measures; indoor allergen assessment; indoor allergens

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Section of Allergy, Immunology, Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Publication date: November 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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