Outdoor temperature changes and emergency department visits for asthma in Seoul, Korea: A time-series study.

Outdoor temperature changes and emergency department visits for asthma in Seoul, Korea: A time-series study.

Environ Res. 2014 Sep 24;135C:15-20

Authors: Kim J, Lim Y, Kim H

BACKGROUND: Extreme temperatures and temperature changes are known indicators of climate change, and large temperature variations for several consecutive days may affect human health such as exacerbating respiratory symptoms. The objective of this study was to determine the association between outdoor temperature change and asthma-related emergency department visits. In particular, this study examined seasonality and identified susceptible populations, such as the elderly.
METHODS: The health data for asthma-related emergency department visits were collected from July 1, 2007, to December 31, 2010 in Seoul, Korea, through the National Emergency Department Information System of the National Emergency Medical Center and we defined temperature change as the absolute difference of mean temperature between the current day and the previous day. We applied generalized linear models with an allowance of over-dispersion for quantifying the estimated effects of temperature change on asthma-related emergency department visits, adjusting for meteorological conditions, air pollution, and time trend.
RESULTS: In general, temperature change was adversely associated with asthma-related emergency department visits, with a 1-unit increase of temperature change associated with a 3.5% (95% CI 0.7, 6.4%) increase in emergency department visits. In addition, seasonal variation after adjusting for mean temperature and diurnal temperature range had an adverse effect in spring, summer, and fall and a protective effect in winter. Patients aged ?65 years experienced the most prominent effect during the fall, with a 17.9% (95% CI 4.1, 33.6%) increase in emergency department visits per 1-unit increase of temperature change, whereas the other seasons showed no statistically significant association.
CONCLUSIONS: Along with diurnal temperature range, temperature change may be an alternative indicator of climate change. Temperature change variables are well-known and easy to communicate with the public relative to the health effects of outdoor temperature fluctuations.

PMID: 25261859 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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