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High-Efficiency Vacuum Cleaners Don't Benefit Allergy

Any type of vacuum-cleaning slightly increases short-term exposure to allergens

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Although high-efficiency vacuum cleaners are often recommended for patients with allergies, the vacuums confer no benefit compared with regular models, according to a study published in the January issue of Allergy. All types of vacuum cleaners slightly increase short-term exposure to personal mite allergens, the authors say.

Robin B. Gore, M.D., of Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, U.K., and colleagues selected five brand-new high-efficiency vacuum cleaners and compared them with one control, a previously used vacuum cleaner with its original microfilter. When used in 10 homes, nasal air samples were taken prior to and during vacuum cleaning and the dust compartments were subsequently emptied to measure the personal mite and cat allergen exposure.

Vacuum cleaning caused a slight increase in exposure to personal mite allergens, but was of borderline significance (P=0.058). The level of exposure was the same for the control vacuum cleaner and the high-efficiency models and was statistically insignificant. Emptying the dust compartment increased exposure to personal mite and cat allergens.

"High-efficiency vacuum cleaners confer no benefit and cannot currently be recommended to allergy sufferers as a means of reducing personal mite allergen exposure," the authors conclude.

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