Say Hello to Your Little Friends
About 300 years ago, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, the inventor of the microscope, peered into the eyepiece of his invention and discovered a previously invisible population of creatures that live among us: dust mites.
Dust mites aren’t invisible, of course – they’re just undetectable to the naked eye. Good thing. Because if you’ve ever seen a photo of a dust mite, the realization that your bedding, clothes, curtains, upholstered furniture, carpets, and stuffed animals are teeming with hundreds of thousands of them is unsettling at best.
For most of us, thorough and frequent cleaning – along with making a conscious decision to just not think about them – is the only defense needed against dust mites. But others are not so lucky. Dust mites come in right behind pollen as the second most common cause of allergic reactions. A protein contained in dust mite feces and skin sheddings can prompt reactions that range from the mild (itchy nose) to the extreme (severe asthma).
For many people who are sensitive to dust mites, a powdered plant extract may be the only defense they need.
Dust in the wind
In previous e-Alerts I’ve told you about several trials that have tested a remarkable product called Nasaleze.
Nasaleze is a completely organic powdered plant extract that creates a gel when it comes into contact with moisture. When Nasaleze is sniffed into the nostrils, the gel that’s naturally created acts as a mucous substitute for allergy sufferers who lack the natural mucous that filters air in the nasal passages. In the absence of mucous, allergens make contact with the sinuses and lungs, which triggers sneezing and other unpleasant reactions.
Last week, the newest Nasaleze study was presented by J.C. Emberlin and R.A. Lewis at the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden. Professors Emberlin and Lewis oversee the UK National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.
- Researchers recruited 15 adults diagnosed with persistent allergic rhinitis due to dust mite allergy
- In the study’s cross-over design, each subject participated in a placebo phase in which they sniffed a lactose powder, and an intervention phase (conducted at least seven days apart from the placebo phase) in which they sniffed Nasaleze
- All subjects were symptom-free at baseline
- After receiving the placebo or Nasaleze sniffs, each subject was given a small puff of homogenized dust into each nostril
- Dust used in the trial contained specific concentrations of the house dust mite allergens Der p1 and Der f1
- Measures for nasal secretions, sneezing, etc., were taken at 5 minutes, then every 15 minutes for the next hour, followed by 30 minute intervals for four hours, and again at six hours and 24 hours
- Results showed that sneezing, itchy nose, and runny nose were significantly reduced when using Nasaleze
- Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP – a marker for allergic inflammation) was also significantly reduced in nasal secretions when Nasaleze was in use
- No adverse reactions were reported
For people who are allergic to dust mites, Nasaleze might provide a life-changing solution because it’s impossible to completely rid a house of these microscopic creatures.
According to a Clemson University fact sheet, dust mites thrive in humidity, so dehumidifiers may provide some relief. But bed fibers and carpet fibers actually have their own humid microclimates that are only mildly affected by the humidity of the room. Insecticides also have no lasting effect on core populations of dust mites.
Constant cleaning of bedding and upholstery is the best way to control dust mites. For those who are most sensitive, removal of carpeting, curtains, stuffed toys, and upholstered furniture may be necessary. Mattresses, box springs, and pillows may also need to be enclosed in dust-proof covers.
Meanwhile, we’ll be hearing more about Nasaleze later in the year when a new study from the University of Helsinki will report on the results of Nasaleze as a preventive for the common cold.
You can find more information about Nasaleze at nasaleze.com and in the e-Alert “Something on the Breeze” (8/16/05), available at this link: http://www.hsionline.com/ealerts/ea200508/ea20050816.html
“Double Blind Placebo Controlled Cross Over Challenge Study by Nasal Provocation with House Dust Mite Allergen” J.C. Emberlin and R.A. Lewis, Presented at the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology meeting, Gothenburg, Sweden, 6/12/07
“Dust Mites” Clemson University, hgic.Clemson.edu