Probe into asthma and housing link

Health bosses are set to be asked to investigate whether poor quality housing in and around Great Yarmouth and Norwich is causing asthma attacks.The call is set to be made by county councillors after they uncovered statistics suggesting the number of people being taken to hospital because of asthma is higher in Norwich and Yarmouth than the average for the East of England.

Health bosses are set to be asked to investigate whether poor quality housing in and around Great Yarmouth and Norwich is causing asthma attacks.

The call is set to be made by county councillors after they uncovered statistics suggesting the number of people being taken to hospital because of asthma is higher in Norwich and Yarmouth than the average for the East of England.

National charity Asthma UK presented Norfolk County Council with the statistics, although Norfolk overall still has one of the lowest rates of asthma admissions in the UK.

Members of a working group set up by the council's health, overview and scrutiny committee discovered the information while looking into whether there was a link between health and housing. Members are set to ask council bosses for the levels of unfit housing in their areas, what ratio is private and social and to then ask public health chiefs for any evidence showing a correlation between those figures and the number of people with health problems such as asthma.


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Experts have linked the growth of mould in damp buildings with a higher risk of respiratory diseases, such as asthma, along with allergies and depression, plus more general symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and dizziness.

NHS Norfolk confirmed the hospital admissions for asthma in Norwich were above the regional average and Lucy Macleod, consultant in public health, said: “It has been accepted for some time that the living environment is one of many factors that can affect the incidence of asthma and mould in damp houses can be an allergen which triggers or exacerbates the condition in some people.

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“However, a number of other factors can cause the condition, not all of which have yet been identified.”

An interim report will be presented to the health overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday .

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