Indoor allergens, environmental avoidance, and allergic respiratory disease.

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.

Allergy Asthma Proc. 2008 Nov-Dec;29(6):575-9.

By RK Bush

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