25-year retrospective longitudinal study on seasonal allergic rhinitis associations with air temperature in general practice.

06 Dec 2022


Due to climate change, air temperature in the Netherlands has gradually increased. Higher temperatures lead to longer pollen seasons. Possible relations between air temperature and increased impact of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) in general practice have not been investigated yet. We explored trends in timing of frequent seasonal allergic rhinitis presentation to general practitioners (GPs) over 25 years and explored associations with air temperature. We performed a retrospective exploratory longitudinal study with data from our Family Medicine Network (1995-2019), including all SAR patients and their GP-encounters per week. We determined patients' GP-consultation frequency. Every year we identified seasonal periods with substantial increase in SAR related encounters: peak-periods. We determined start date and duration of the peak-period and assessed associations with air temperature in the beginning and throughout the year, respectively. The peak-period duration increased by a mean of 1.3 days (95% CI 0.23-2.45, P = 0.02) per year throughout the study period. Air temperature between February and July showed a statistically significant association with peak-period duration. We could not observe direct effects of warmer years on the start of peak-periods within distinct years (P = 0.06). SAR patients' contact frequency slightly increased by 0.01 contacts per year (95% CI 0.002-0.017, P = 0.015). These longitudinal findings may help to facilitate further research on the impact of climate change, and raise awareness of the tangible impact of climate change in general practice.

Resource information

Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Schreurs W, Schermer TRJ, Akkermans RP, Bischoff EWMA, Luijks HD