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Infants in damp housing at risk of developing wheeze

By Yvette Martyn

Damp housing is the strongest risk factor for the development of severe wheeze in the first year of life, according to a Dutch study.

The study - published this month in Pediatric Pulmonology - examined the prevalence and risk factors for wheeze in 1,115 infants through a detailed questionnaire.

Infants living in damp housing were 2.5 times more likely to wheeze, making it the main modifiable risk factor.

The study, which is published in the latest issue of Paediatric Pulmonology, found that a history of eczema, having a sibling with asthma and visiting day care were associated with the development of wheeze, recurrent wheeze and severe wheeze.

But the researchers found no relationship between wheeze and maternal smoking and suggested that this may be because mothers who smoke through pregnancy are less likely to have a family history of asthma.

Study author Dr Paul Brand, consultant paediatrician at the Princess Amalia Children's Clinic of the Isala Klinieken Hospital in Zwolle, the Netherlands said: ‘Damp housing, although uncommon, is a strong risk factor for troublesome wheeze in infants. Studies are needed to examine the effect of reducing home dampness on the severity of wheeze in young children.'

Pediatr Pulmonol 2010;45:149-156

The study examined risk factors for wheeze in more than 1,000 infants The study examined risk factors for wheeze in more than 1,000 infants