Robert A. Wood, MD


Questions Physicians Often Ask About Allergens That Trigger Asthma

December 01, 2006

Abstract: Because of the impact of allergen exposure on asthma control, all patients with asthma should be evaluated for allergic sensitization. Such patients can be referred to an allergist for evaluation, or radioallergosorbent tests can be ordered by the primary care provider. The major groups of aeroallergens that can trigger asthma attacks include furred-pet, dust mite, cockroach, rodent, mold, and pollen allergens. When assessing a patient's exposure history, remember that furred-pet allergens are found not just in the home, but in other settings, such as schools, and these allergens are passively transferred from one environment to another. Allergen avoidance measures are essential to the management of asthma in sensitized patients and can significantly improve asthma control. First-line dust mite control measures include installing allergen-proof mattress and pillow encasements, washing all bedding every 1 to 2 weeks in hot water, removing stuffed toys, vacuuming and dusting regularly, and reducing indoor relative humidity. (J Respir Dis. 2006;27(12):511-526)