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The Relationship Between Birch Pollen, Air Pollution and Weather Types and Their Effect on Antihistamine Purchase in Two Swedish Cities

Grundström, Maria and Dahl, Å. and Ou, T. and Chen, D. and Pleijel, H. (2017) The Relationship Between Birch Pollen, Air Pollution and Weather Types and Their Effect on Antihistamine Purchase in Two Swedish Cities. Aerobiologia, 33 (4). pp. 457-471. ISSN 0393-5965 Online: 1573-3025

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Abstract

Exposure to elevated air pollution levels can aggravate pollen allergy symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between airborne birch (Betula) pollen, urban air pollutants NO2, O3 and PM10 and their effects on antihistamine demand in Gothenburg and Malmo¨, Sweden, 2006–2012. Further, the influence of large-scale weather pattern on pollen-/ pollution-related risk, using Lambweather types (LWTs), was analysed. Daily LWTs were obtained by comparing the atmospheric pressure over a 16-point grid system over southern Sweden (scale *3000 km). They include two non-directional types, cyclonic (C) and anticyclonic (A) and eight directional types depending on the wind direction (N, NE, E…). Birch pollen levels were exceptionally high under LWTs E and SE in both cities. Furthermore, LWTs with dry and moderately calm meteorological character (A, NE, E, SE) were associated with strongly elevated air pollution (NO2 and PM10) in Gothenburg. For most weather situations in both cities, simultaneously high birch pollen together with high air pollution had larger over-the-counter (OTC) sales of antihistamines than situations with high birch pollen alone. LWTs NE, E, SE and S had the highest OTC sales in both cities. InGothenburg, the city with a higher load of both birch pollen and air pollution, the higher OTC sales were especially obvious and indicate an increased effect on allergic symptoms from air pollution. Furthermore, GothenburgLWTs A, NE, E and SEwere associatedwith high pollen and air pollution levels and thus classified as high-risk weather types. In Malmo¨, corresponding highrisk LWTs were NE, E, SE and S. Furthermore, occurrence of high pollen and air pollutants as well as OTC sales correlated strongly with vapour pressure deficit and temperature in Gothenburg (much less so in Malmo¨). This provides evidence that the combination of meteorological properties associated with LWTs can explain high levels of birch pollen and air pollution. Our study shows that LWTs represent a useful tool for integrated daily air quality forecasting/warning.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: pollen, Betula, birch, air pollution, weather type, antihistamine
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Copyright Info: Open Access article
Depositing User: Maria Grundstrom
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 12:51
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2017 08:45
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5543

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