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Allergy. 1996 Apr;51(4):232-7.

Prevalence of allergic diseases in schoolchildren in relation to family history, upper respiratory infections, and residential characteristics.

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Department of Pediatrics, Gothenburg University, Sweden.


The prevalences of asthma, allergic rhinitis (AR), and eczema were analyzed in relation to retrospective risk factors from birth in a questionnaire study of schoolchildren in two areas covering the whole climatic span of Sweden: the Göteborg area on the southwestern coast (7-year-olds, n = 1649) and Kiruna, a mining town in the northernmost inland mountains (7-9-year-olds, n = 832). The strongest background factor, a family history of the diseases, was more common in children with another strong risk factor, particularly for asthma: high frequency of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Other significant risk factors related to high indoor humidity caused an increased prevalence of both allergic diseases and URTI. Active mechanical ventilation of the homes caused a slight reduction of the prevalence of allergic diseases, and repainting or new wallpaper in the bedroom of the child after birth caused a moderately increased risk of allergic disease. This study illustrates the interaction between genetic and environmental risk factors with special emphasis on factors related to an unventilated indoor climate, which may have substantially contributed to the current increase of the diseases in the country.

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