Effects of air pollution on general practitioner consultations for upper respiratory diseases in London


Hajat, S; Anderson, HR; Atkinson, RW; Haines, A; (2002) Effects of air pollution on general practitioner consultations for upper respiratory diseases in London. Occupational and environmental medicine, 59 (5). pp. 294-9. ISSN 1351-0711 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/oem.59.5.294

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Few published studies have examined the effect of air pollution on upper respiratory conditions. Furthermore, most epidemiological studies on air pollution focus on mortality or hospital admissions as the main health outcomes, but very rarely consider the effect in primary care. If pollution effects do exist then the public health impact could be considerable because of the many patient contacts involved. We investigated the relation between air pollution and upper respiratory disease as reflected in number of consultations made at family practices in London. METHODS: The study used non-parametric methods of analysis of time series data, adjusting for seasonal factors, day of the week, holiday effects, influenza, weather, pollen concentrations, and serial correlation. RESULTS: It was estimated that a 10-90th percentile change (13-31 microg/m(3)) in sulphur dioxide (SO(2)) measures resulted in a small increase in numbers of childhood consultation: 3.5% (95% confidence interval (95% CI 1.4% to 5.8%). Stronger associations were found in the case of a 10-90th percentile change (16-47 microg/m(3)) in fine particles (PM(10)) in adults aged 15-64 5.7% (2.9% to 8.6%), and in adults aged 65 and over: 10.2% (5.3% to 15.3%). In general, associations were strongest in elderly people, weakest in the children, and were largely found in the winter months for these two age groups, and in the summer months for adults aged 15-64. An apparent decrease in consultations was associated with ozone concentrations but this was most pronounced in colder months when ozone concentrations were at their lowest. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest an adverse effect of air pollution on consultations for upper respiratory symptoms, in particular in the case of PM(10) and SO(2). The effects are relatively small; however, due to the many consultations made in primary care, the impact on demand for services could be considerable.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Air Pollutants, Environmental/adverse effects, Air Pollution/*adverse effects, Child, Child, Preschool, Dust, Family Practice, Fourier Analysis, Human, Infant, London, Middle Age, *Office Visits, Pollen, Regression Analysis, Respiratory Tract Diseases/*etiology, Seasons, Sulfur Dioxide, Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, *Urban Health, Adolescence, Adult, Aged, Air Pollutants, Environmental, adverse effects, Air Pollution, adverse effects, Child, Child, Preschool, Dust, Family Practice, Fourier Analysis, Human, Infant, London, Middle Age, Office Visits, Pollen, Regression Analysis, Respiratory Tract Diseases, etiology, Seasons, Sulfur Dioxide, Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Urban Health
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- ) > Dept of Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Research (2003-2012)
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Centre for Global Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)
PubMed ID: 11983844
Web of Science ID: 175539000003
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/17500

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