Mite-Proof Bedding Can Help Cut Back on Children's Asthma Attacks

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Mite-Proof Bedding Can Help Cut Back on Children's Asthma Attacks

Children with asthma are reported to have less severe attacks if their beds are covered with mite-proof protection.

Dust mites, which are 8-legged bugs too small to be seen by the naked eye, are one of the most common asthma triggers. Dust mites do not bite or sting, but instead live off of the dead skin cells that we discard daily. The proteins in their bodies, as well as their droppings, can cause both allergies and asthma.

Most homes have traces of dust mites regardless of how often they are cleaned. They can be found on any surface, but are most commonly located in pillows, mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, carpets and curtains.

Research conducted in England, during which 284 children with asthma were given bed casings, found a relationship between dust mites and allergy or asthma-based flare-ups. In the study—which was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine—some children’s beds were covered with mite-proof bedding, while others were covered with a placebo bedding. Researchers then tracked the children for a year, reporting and analyzing the results.

Only 29 percent of the children with mite-proof bedding had severe flare-ups that led to hospital visits. These children also went much longer before having said flare-ups.

Dr. Clare Murray, the study’s lead author, said in a journal news release that “asthma exacerbations are among the most common reasons for hospitalizing children living in the developed world. It’s a frightening experience for children and their parents, and a single exacerbation can increase the annual cost of treating asthma by three-fold.”

Although the frequency of the attacks did not decrease with mite-proof bedding, the severity of the attacks did. Therefore, the $200 bedding is a worthwhile investment for those suffering from asthma.

Photo: Alan Levine, CC-BY

Elizabeth Chambers is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.