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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Seasonal allergic symptoms and their relation to pollen exposure in south-east France


Dr D. Charpin. Service de Pnenmo-Allergologie, Département des Maladies Respiratoires. Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite, BP 29. 13277 Marseille Cédex 9. France.


In order to evaluate the relationship between pollen exposure and prevalence of allergic respiratory symptoms, we performed a cross-sectional epidemiological study in 2 areas with contrasted exposure to cypress and grass pollens. The study population consisted of 5427 subjects 18 to 65-years-old representative of the general population. All answered an abridged version of the 1978 ATS questionnaire and a sample had a skin test evaluation including grass and cypress pollens. Prevalence of hay fever symptoms was equal to 31.5% and 14.1%, respectively, in exposed and less exposed community (P < 0.001). Prevalence of hay fever symptoms together with a positive skin test to pollen was also significantly higher in the exposed (13.6%) vs less exposed community (5.5%, P<0.001). In contrast, overall prevalence of asthma was equal to 4.5% and 3.4%, respectively. Prevalence of asthma with positive skin tests was also not statistically significant, equal to 2.5% and 1.9%, respectively. Thus, high exposure to pollen is a risk factor for developing hay fever but not asthma.

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