Effects of Daily Pollen Concentrations on Primary Asthma Emergency Department Visits in Atlanta, GA Restricted; Files Only

Sole, Adam (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2z10wr560?locale=pt-BR
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Abstract

Introduction: Asthma is currently one of the most prevalent chronic respiratory illnesses across the globe. It is also a disease that is not distributed evenly across the population, with some groups more burdened than others. Asthma exacerbations have many causes, one of which is through exposure to allergens. This study aims to quantify the effects of pollen on emergency department visits for asthma in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, and to determine effects across population sub-groups and over time.

Methods: Measurements of daily pollen concentrations were obtained for the period 1993 to 2018. Counts of emergency department visits for asthma were sourced from individual hospitals early in the study period (1993-2004), and from the Georgia Hospital Association more recently (2005-2018). Time series regression using quasi-Poisson models was employed to investigate the association of daily total pollen concentrations with asthma emergency department visits. Analyses were run for each of three pollen types (tree, weed, grass) within their respective pollen seasons, and across race, age, and temporal stratifications.

Results: Regression estimates showed a statistically significant increase in risk of primary asthma emergency department visits for tree pollen of 3.4% (95% CI: 2.7-4.1) per standard deviation increase in pollen concentration. Significant associations were not observed for grass or weed pollens. Black residents of Atlanta had a greater risk associated with a one standard deviation increase in tree pollen concentration of 2.9% (95%CI: 2.4-3.5) per standard deviation compared to the White population at 1.2% (95% CI: 0.4-1.9). Young people (0-17) and adults (18-64) were shown to have significant associations (P<0.05) between asthma and tree pollen, while no association was found in the elderly (65+). Temporal analysis of tree pollen showed decreasing risks over each of the three decades within the study period.

Conclusion: This analysis shows an elevated risk of primary asthma emergency department visits associated with an increase in concentration of tree pollen. It also indicated differential vulnerability across subgroups. The health impacts of pollen are an increasing concern in the context of climate change, which can act to increase pollen production and/or lengthen the pollen season.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction...................................................................................1 Methods........................................................................................4 Results.........................................................................................6 Discussion....................................................................................14 References...................................................................................19

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