A cross-sectional study was carried out at Tianjin University campus, China, from February 21 to June10, 2006, to survey the association between dampness in dorms and allergy and airways infection among college students. The health and dampness condition were self-reported by 3436 students living in 1511 dorm rooms located in 13 buildings on the campus. The buildings were selected according to their positions, construction periods and occupant densities. The allergy and airways infection symptoms involved wheezing, dry cough during night, rhinitis, eczema, cold/flu, ear inflammation, pneumonia and tuberculosis. The indoor moisture signs were mould/damp spots on walls, ceilings and floors; suspected or ever happened water damage; condensation on windowpane in winter and odours perceived by subjects themselves. This study showed there was significantly positive association between condensation and dry cough. Eczema was often reported in rooms with suspected moisture problem. Dampness was a significantly risk factor for common cold.This paper indicated that dampness problem at dorms of Chinese students was a risk factor in irritating allergic symptoms, and hence there is a need for dorm environment improvement. The ventilation and microbiology problems in dorm environment corresponding to dampness should be further studied, especially when it is associated to occupants' health.
- Dorm environment
- Airways infection