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Asthmatics warned on costly equipment

PUBLISHED: 23:00 03 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:34 03 March 2010

ASTHMATICS in Suffolk have been told that the expensive anti-dust mite mattress covers they may have bought are next to worthless.

The sheets which are supposed to protect asthmatics from house dust mites, which can trigger asthma attacks, were previously thought to protect sufferers while they slept.

ASTHMATICS in Suffolk have been told that the expensive anti-dust mite mattress covers they may have bought are next to worthless.

The sheets which are supposed to protect asthmatics from house dust mites, which can trigger asthma attacks, were previously thought to protect sufferers while they slept.

But research from Holland claims that although the special sheets reduce exposure to the mites, they do not help to alleviate the breathing condition.

Researchers tested 30 non-smoking severe asthmatics with house dust mite allergies and for a year half slept on anti-allergic covers and the other half used plain covers.

After a year the experts at the University of Utrecht in Holland went back to the asthmatics and tested them to see if their asthma had improved by measuring their symptoms and carrying out peak breathing flow tests.

They found that there was hardly any difference between the symptoms and test results of both groups.

But an asthma group has warned that more research is needed.

The National Asthma Campaign (NAC) which has given its backing to the Evening Star's Breath of Life campaign said: "It is one study and it is quite a small one. There is only 30 people on the one hand and other studies have sworn that it is beneficial."

Lucy Twitchin, spokeswoman for the NAC, said they were waiting for the outcome of a Manchester-based study which is carrying out a similar test but with up to 1,500 asthmatics.

"This study is interesting but we are hanging on to this larger one," she said.

The NAC's advice is to carry on using the covers, which for a single sheet costs around £40, as some people do find that they can help relieve asthma symptoms.

"What we recommend is go for low cost options first, vacuuming, washing duvets and soft toys every week."

For more information contact the NACs helpline on 08457 010203.

What do you think? Have you bought these anti-allergy covers and do you think they work? Contact Felixstowe Newsdesk on 01394 284109.

WEBLINKS:

www.asthma.org.uk

www.brit-thoracic.org.uk

Are you an asthma sufferer? Have you ever had a major attack? How do you cope each day with the fear of what might happen and how do you avoid the 'triggers'?

If you or your family suffer from asthma, let us know what you think of the help given to you, the problems you face, and the experiences you have had. Let us have your opinions. Contact Felixstowe editor Richard Cornwell or Felixstowe reporter Joanne Constable on 01394 284109, email richard.cornwell@eveningstar.co.uk or joanne.constable.co.uk or write to Evening Star, 105B Hamilton Road, Felixstowe. IP11 7BL.

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