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Free Content Incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy in relation to the school environment—a four-year follow-up study in schoolchildren

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SETTING: In schools, the indoor air quality is often poor and there is growing concern about its impact on the pupils' health.

OBJECTIVE: To study the incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy in schoolchildren in relation to the school environment.

DESIGN: Data on asthma and allergies were collected through a postal questionnaire answered in 1993 and 1997 by 1347 (78%) pupils (initially aged 7–13 years) in 39 randomly chosen schools. Indoor pollutants were measured in about 100 classrooms in 1993 and 1995. Relationships between indoor pollutants and incidence of asthma diagnosis and self-reported allergy were studied by multiple logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, atopy and smoking.

RESULTS: The incidence of asthma diagnosis was higher in pupils attending schools with more settled dust and more cat allergen (Fel d 1) in this dust. Incidence of self-reported furry pet allergy was higher in schools with more respirable particles. Among children without a history of atopy, a new asthma diagnosis was more common at higher concentrations of formaldehyde and total moulds in the classroom air.

CONCLUSION: A school environment with more dust, cat allergen, formaldehyde and moulds may affect the incidence of asthma and sensitivity to furry pets in schoolchildren.

Keywords: cat allergen; dust; formaldehyde; moulds

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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