DAVIS, Cal. – February 8, 2002 – Use of a Central Vacuum System can result in a significant reduction of allergy symptoms, according to a study of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) patients by the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine. Study results were published in the December issue of the Journal of Investigational Allergology & Clinical Immunology.
The study led by Drs. M. Eric Gershwin and Stanley Naguwa examined the symptoms of 25 individuals over six months. Half the participants used their own conventional vacuum cleaners in their homes for 12 weeks. The other half used a Beam 2100 Central Vacuum System. Each group changed from using a conventional vacuum to a central vacuum system or vice versa for another 12 weeks.
Naguwa said the purpose of the study was to compare the efficacy of central vacuum systems with traditional vacuums in improving allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, symptoms associated with house dust mites or cockroaches.
“Mites, cockroaches and other foreign proteins such as insect parts or leavings are a major cause of respiratory disease and represent the triggering agent in what is commonly referred to as house-dust allergy,” Naguwa said.
“Conventional cleaning methods fail to eliminate them, either because they are found in places not efficiently reached by ordinary procedures, or the procedures themselves (non-central vacuuming systems, for example) actually disperse the organisms throughout the environment.”
Participants completed the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire throughout the study period to rate the severity of seven common symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including:
- Limitations or other negative impacts on work or leisure activity;
- Sleep, including difficulty getting to sleep, waking up at night or lack of a good night's sleep;
- Non nose or eye symptoms including fatigue, thirst, reduced productivity, poor concentration, headache, etc.
- Practical problems such as rubbing the nose or eyes, or having to blow your nose or carry a handkerchief;
- Nasal symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing or postnasal drip;
- Eye symptoms, including watery, itching, sore or swollen eyes;
- Emotional symptoms such as frustration, restlessness, irritability or embarrassment.
“The RQLQ responses showed symptoms in each category were significantly less severe during the periods in which participants used the central vacuum system instead of an upright vacuum,” Naguwa says.
Specifically, the study showed a 44 percent improvement in sleep-related symptoms, 47 percent improvement in nasal symptoms, 48 percent improvement in non-nasal symptoms and 61 percent improvement in both emotional- and eye symptoms when participants used a central vacuum system. Respondents also reported a 52 percent reduction in practical problems and 46 percent stated they experienced less impact on normal daily work or leisure activity during the period when they used the central vacuum system in their homes.
Naguwa noted that combating home-based allergens requires a number of steps, including preventing their entry to the home, controlling temperature and humidity levels, use of air cleaning devices or systems as well as hypoallergenic décor, and careful cleaning.
“House dust allergen control is a significant task requiring multi-modality management which was enhanced by the use of a central vacuum system in this study,” he said.