Home Environments and Allergen Avoidance Practices in a Hot, Humid Climate

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of the study was to examine home conditions, housing satisfactions, and allergen avoidance practices of people with allergic rhinitis, focusing on female patients who lived in an urban area in a hot, humid climate. The Morris and Winter theory of housing adjustment provides a theoretical base for this study. Nine hypotheses were tested to investigate interrelationships among home conditions, housing satisfaction in terms of health issues, allergen avoidance practices, and age. A sample of 41 female allergy patients aged 20 to 77 years completed a screening questionnaire and an in-depth survey questionnaire. The researcher visited their dwellings to conduct home observations and to take photos.Dust mite allergens were reported as the most common allergy triggers. Presence of cockroaches, presence of furry pets outdoors, molds in bathrooms, and molds in kitchens were the most common problematic home conditions. Open shelves, bookcases, drapes, horizontal blinds, and foam rubber pillows were the most common allergy related items found in respondents' bedrooms. Concerning health issues, the majority of the respondents were satisfied with their homes. Allergen avoidance practices were not followed regularly, particularly, using allergen-proof pillowcases and sheets, washing bedding in hot water, wearing a particle mask when vacuuming, using an exhaust fan, an air cleaner, a dehumidifier, and cockroach traps. The respondents who received suggestions from doctors were more likely to follow allergen avoidance practices than those who did not receive suggestions.The result shows a significant negative relationship between problematic home conditions and housing satisfaction in terms of health issues. A significant negative relationship between age and allergen avoidance practices was found. Older sufferers were less likely to use allergen-proof products. They also lived in older homes that were more likely to have allergy related conditions. The most common obstacles that prevented respondents from improving their homes in order to avoid allergens were cost of products, emotional attachment to pets, not having time to improve homes, and procrastination. Based on these findings, design recommendations, home maintenance recommendations, and lifestyle practice recommendations were developed.



Home design, Bangkok, Indoor Air Quality, Healthy House, Older People, Allergy, Thailand