Damp homes linked to allergies2nd August 2010
Children who live in damp houses end up with more nasal allergies than children who do not, according to a recent Finnish study.
Lead researcher Jouni Jaakkola, of the Institute of Health Sciences in Oulu, Finland said that while previous studies had focused on children's exposure to indoor moisture and mould, the focus of such studies was ultimately too broad to yield conclusions about childhood allergies.
He said that the recent study gave credence to findings linking indoor humidity to allergic rhinitis in children.
Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include congestion, clogged passages, sneezing, and runny nose.
Pet dander, dust, pollen, and mould all seem to aggravate the condition.
For the study, the researchers examined about 1,900 Finnish children, whom they then followed for a period of six years.
They found that 16% of the children who lived in houses where there was damp or mould developed allergic rhinitis during the six-year study period.
And children whose parents noted the presence of mould or water damage in their homes were 55% more likely to develop symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Jaakkola said that damp houses supported the growth of fungi and dust mites, as well as attracting cockroaches, and that parents should be careful to always repair water damage in their homes, especially parents of children who already had allergies.
All of the statistical conclusions in the study were weighed using a number of relevant factors, including socio-economic status and second-hand smoke.
Jaakkola said that indoor mould can also cause indoor building materials to break down into their chemical constituents, which could inflame people's airways.
Allergic rhinitis is the most common form of mould-induced hypersensitivity.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is also due to mould exposure, is the direct result of inhaling mould spores or fragments.
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