Assessing Allergenic Vegetation Landscape and Pediatric Respiratory-Related Emergency Department Visits in metro-Atlanta: A novel method Open Access
Wang, Bijia (Spring 2021)
Allergenic pollen is produced by the flowers of trees, grasses and weeds. Exposure to such pollen grains can exacerbate pollen-related asthma and allergenic conditions such as allergic rhinitis. Understanding the health effects from pollen exposure requires the acquisition of the spatial distribution of pollen-producing vegetation. Connections between ambient air pollution concentrations and health responses have been reported in several studies, but not enough research has been done on spatial distribution of allergenic tree pollen and its health outcomes (Greiner et al., 2011). Children are vulnerable due to their developing physiology and outdoor lifestyle and are thus frequently exposed to such allergenic trees. Maps showing the location of these allergenic taxa have many applications: provide risk assessments; inform research on health impacts based on hospital respiratory admissions; advance pollen emissions models.
This study presents census tract-level maps of selected tree taxa found in Atlanta. We use the novel approach of mapping allergenic vegetation to examine the association between pollen species distribution mixture with asthma-related pediatric emergency department (PED) visits in the city of Atlanta.
We hypothesize that allergenic vegetation count by census tract is a predictor of PED visit rates. The null hypothesis is that allergenic vegetation and asthma PED rates are spatially homogeneous and have no spatial relationship. Taxa mapped in this study were: Acer sp. (maple), Betula sp. (birch), Quercus sp. (oak), Ulmus sp.(elm), Fraxinus sp. (ash), Platanus sp. (sycamore), Fagus sp. (beech), Carya sp. (hickory), Populus sp. (poplar), Juglans sp., and Salix sp. (willow). PED visit rates for children aged 0–19 years from 2014-2018 are mapped by census tracts. Results show the different geographical distributions of the taxa and PED residences, which can be used to study plants in Atlanta associated with allergy and allergic asthma. Associations between allergenic tree density and pediatric emergency department visit rates were found to be both statistically significant (p=0.00043; 95% CI: 2.16 ± 0.2) and statistically insignificant (p=0.94; 95% CI: 2.16 ± 0.2). Findings can be expected to inform future development and implementation of public health strategies and land management through regionally tailored environmental and healthcare characteristics.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION p.1
Health impacts of allergenic pollen: Is pollen a form of air pollution?
Background to allergenic vegetation mapping
Project aims and research questions: a unique approach to predicting health outcomes
CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW p.12
Purpose of this work and wider context
CHAPTER 3: MATERIALS AND METHODS p.17
Experimental Overview Data: Allergenic Vegetation Selection
Allergenic Vegetation Distribution in Metro-Atlanta
PED Visit Residences
Data Analysis for Significance
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS p.30
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION p.44
Implication of Results
Uncertainty with respect to species information and inventory method
Public Health Relevance
Timing of Release of Pollen Grains
Effect of Climate Change
Interaction with Air Quality
Mitigation and Adaptation
Conclusion & Future Directions
About this Honors Thesis
|Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor|
|Assessing Allergenic Vegetation Landscape and Pediatric Respiratory-Related Emergency Department Visits in metro-Atlanta: A novel method ()||2021-04-20 09:01:29 -0400||