The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice

Exposure to Extreme Heat Events Is Associated with Increased Hay Fever Prevalence among Nationally Representative Sample of US Adults: 1997-2013.

PMID 27840238


Warmer temperature can alter seasonality of pollen as well as pollen concentration, and may impact allergic diseases such as hay fever. Recent studies suggest that extreme heat events will likely increase in frequency, intensity, and duration in coming decades in response to changing climate. The overall objective of this study was to investigate if extreme heat events are associated with hay fever. We linked National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 1997 to 2013 (n = 505,386 respondents) with extreme heat event data, defined as days when daily maximum temperature (TMAX) exceeded the 95th percentile values of TMAX for a 30-year reference period (1960-1989). We used logistic regression to investigate the associations between exposure to annual and seasonal extreme heat events and adult hay fever prevalence among the NHIS respondents. During 1997-2013, hay fever prevalence among adults 18 years and older was 8.43%. Age, race/ethnicity, poverty status, education, and sex were significantly associated with hay fever status. We observed that adults in the highest quartile of exposure to extreme heat events had a 7% increased odds of hay fever compared with those in the lowest quartile of exposure (odds ratios: 1.07, 95% confidence interval: 1.02-1.11). This relationship was more pronounced for extreme heat events that occurred during spring season, with evidence of an exposure-response relationship (Ptrend < .01). Our data suggest that exposure to extreme heat events is associated with increased prevalence of hay fever among US adults.