Indexed on: 19 Jan '10Published on: 19 Jan '10Published in: Pediatric Pulmonology
Factors operating in the first year of life are critical in determining the onset and persistence of wheezing in preschool children. This study was designed to examine the prevalence and risk factors of wheeze in the first year of life in Dutch infants. This was a population-based survey of 13-month-old infants visiting well baby clinics for a scheduled immunization. Parents/caregivers completed a standardized validated questionnaire on respiratory symptoms in the first year of life and putative risk factors. The independent influence of these factors for wheeze was assessed by multiple logistic regression analysis. A total of 1,115 questionnaires were completed. Wheeze ever (with a prevalence in the first year of life of 28.5%) was independently associated with male gender, eczema, sibs with asthma, any allergic disease in the family, day care, damp housing, and asphyxia. Recurrent wheeze (prevalence 14.5%) showed independent associations with eczema, sibs with asthma, and day care. In addition to these factors, severe wheeze (prevalence 15.4%) was also associated with premature rupture of membranes during birth, and with damp housing. Wheeze is common during the first year of life, and places a major burden on families and the health care system. Factors associated with wheeze are mainly related to markers of atopic susceptibility, and to exposure to infections. The strongest modifiable risk factor for wheeze in the first year of life is home dampness. Interventions to reduce home dampness to reduce wheeze in infancy should be examined.