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Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2007 Aug;18(5):418-24.

Associations between home dampness and presence of molds with asthma and allergic symptoms among young children in the tropics.

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1
Department of Building, School of Design & Environment, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

Abstract

Existing literature has shown that home dampness increases indoor mold burden and is associated with increased allergic symptoms among young children in temperate environments. There is no report of any studies of similar nature in the tropics where conditions are characterized typically by high temperatures and humidity with rainfall throughout the year. To evaluate if there are associations between the prevalence of current asthma and allergic symptoms in young children (age 1.5-6 yr) with dampness and indoor mold in children's bedrooms in a tropical environment. A cross-sectional study adopting an expanded and modified ISAAC--International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Children--questionnaire for the evaluation of asthma and allergies was conducted on 6794 children (4759 responded--70%) attending 120 randomly selected daycare centers. Specific information on demographics, home dampness, and the visible presence of indoor molds were obtained. The prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were determined by Cox proportional hazard regression model with assumption of a constant risk period as recommended for cross-sectional studies. The calculated PRs were controlled for age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, type of housing, maternal and paternal atopy, respiratory infections, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure, and food allergy. After adjusting for potential confounding effects, home dampness was observed to be significantly associated with current symptoms of rhinoconjunctivitis (adjusted PR 1.53, 95% CI: 1.00-2.33). The visible presence of mold was significantly associated with current symptoms of rhinitis (PR 1.55, 95% CI: 1.16-2.07) and rhinoconjunctivitis (PR 2.38, 95% CI: 1.51-3.75). Indoor dampness and mold in children's bedroom are important risk factors associated with allergic symptoms in young children in Singapore.

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