Objective: To investigate the effect of exposure to damp housing on respiratory symptoms in women and men.
Method: We examined sex differences in the relationship between damp housing and respiratory symptoms in a cross-sectional survey of 1988 adults, 18 to 74 years of age, using a self-administered questionnaire. We used chi (2) and t-tests to test associations between potential risk factors and respiratory symptoms in men and women. We used multiple logistic regression modelling to determine adjusted odds ratios for several possible symptoms and home dampness. All multivariate analyses were stratified by sex.
Results: Men had a significantly higher prevalence of chronic wheeze compared with women. The prevalence of chronic wheeze, wheeze with shortness of breath, and allergy were higher for women reporting damp housing compared with those not reporting damp housing. No significant associations between damp housing and respiratory symptoms were found in men.
Conclusion: These data raise the possibility that women may be more susceptible to the effects of damp housing than men are.