Background: Environmental exposures have a significant effect on respiratory and sleep symptoms in young children. Although the effect of air pollution on the respiratory symptoms in young children is well-established, less is known about the effect of household environmental characteristics and practices on wheeze and sleep concerns.
Aims: The aim of this pilot study is to explore the association between household environmental characteristics and practices with the symptoms of wheezing and sleep concerns in the past year in a convenience sample of young Indian children.
Materials and methods: A detailed questionnaire about the child's home environment and respiratory and sleep symptoms was administered to the caregivers of 190 outpatients aged between 6 months and 5 years old at a teaching hospital.
Results: Indoor environmental characteristics and cleaning techniques were analyzed for the association with wheeze and sleep disorders. Half (50%) of the cohort had the symptoms of wheezing and 21% had occasional or frequent sleep concerns. Sleeping with a stuffed toy was significantly associated with both wheezing and sleep concerns (P = 0.05).
Conclusions: : Sleeping with a stuffed toy was a risk factor for wheeze and a risk factor for sleep disorders independent of wheeze.
Keywords: Childhood respiratory illness; childhood sleep-related problems; indoor environment; sleep; wheeze.