Arch Dis Child 76:22-26 doi:10.1136/adc.76.1.22
  • Original article

Wheeze, cough, atopy, and indoor environment in the Scottish Highlands


A questionnaire which included items on wheeze, cough, eczema, hay fever, and indoor environment, including parental smoking habits, pet ownership, heating and cooking methods, home insulation, damp, mould, and years lived in their houses, was given to 1801 children, aged 12 and 14 from the Highland Region in Scotland. Of the 1537 (85%) who replied, 267 (17%) reported current wheeze, 135 (9%) cough for three months in the year, 272 (18%) eczema, and 317 (21%) hay fever. There was no consistent relationship between respiratory symptoms and indoor environment although cough was associated with damp, double glazing, and maternal smoking. The prevalence of wheeze, cough, and atopy was higher in children who had lived in more than one house during their lifetime. These results suggest that increasing mobility of families in recent years may be more important in the aetiology of asthma than exposure to any one individual allergen or pollutant.