Study objectives: The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between indoor environmental factors and childhood asthma in a subtropical area.
Design: A case-control study was performed using participants of a prevalence survey that included 165 schoolchildren with asthma and 165 age- and gender-matched control subjects.
Setting: The study was confined to 4,164 schoolchildren aged 6 to 12 years attending eight primary schools in Kaohsiung County rural municipalities who participated in a prevalence study concerning the health effects of the indoor environment.
Participants: Cases (n=165) were defined as children with current asthma confirmed by a physician. Control subjects (n=165) were selected from the same school and class and matched for age and gender, and they did not have a previous diagnosis of asthma, history of physician-confirmed atopic diseases, persistent wheezing, cough, or phlegm, or reported chest illness, pneumonia, or bronchitis.
Measurements and results: Information regarding the home environment was obtained using a structured written questionnaire, completed by the parents of the children. Of the many indoor environmental factors included in this study, only home dampness showed an association with asthma (odds ratio=2.65).
Conclusions: We conclude that dampness in the home is a new public health issue in subtropical areas.