An association between dampness at home and respiratory conditions has been convincingly demonstrated in children. Fewer studies have been performed in adults, and data are lacking for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS). With a prevalence of 10.9% in Europe, CRS imposes a significant burden on quality of life, as well as economy.
Our aim was to study CRS and other respiratory conditions in relation to dampness at home in a representative sample of adults.
The Swedish GA2 LEN questionnaire was answered by 26 577 adults (16-75 years) and included questions on respiratory symptoms, smoking, education and environmental exposure. CRS was defined according to the EP3 OS criteria. Dampness was defined as reporting water damage, floor dampness or visible moulds in the home during the last 12 months. The dampness score was ranked from 0 to 3, counting the number of signs of dampness reported.
Dampness at home was reported by 11.3% and was independently related to respiratory conditions after adjustment for demographic and socio-economic factors and smoking: CRS odds ratio (OR) 1.71; allergic rhinitis OR 1.24; current asthma OR 1.21; wheeze OR 1.37; nocturnal dyspnoea OR 1.80; nocturnal coughing OR 1.34; and chronic bronchitis OR 1.64. The risk of CRS and most of the other respiratory conditions was further elevated in subjects reporting multiple signs of dampness.
This study demonstrated an independent association between dampness at home and CRS in adults. The high burden of this and the other respiratory conditions studied is a strong argument in favour of countering indoor dampness by improving building standards.