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Bastl K.,Medical University of Vienna | Kmenta M.,Medical University of Vienna | Kmenta M.,University of Vienna | Pessi A.-M.,University of Turku | And 9 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Background: The level of symptoms in pollen allergy sufferers and users of the Patient's Hayfever Diary (PHD), does not directly reflect the total amount of pollen in the air. It is necessary to explain the symptom load and thus the development of allergic symptoms and to determine which environmental factors, besides the pollen load, influence variables. It seems reasonable to suspect allergen content because the amount of allergen varies throughout seasons and regions and is not always correlated with the total pollen amount. Methods: Data on the allergen content of ambient air (Bet v 1 and Phl p 5) from 2009 until 2011 was used to compare the respective pollen and symptom loads for study regions in Austria, Germany, France and Finland. Results: Our findings suggest that allergen amount (Bet v 1/Phl p 5) has a strong but regionally dependent impact on the symptom load of pollen allergy sufferers. Peak symptom loads can be traced with peak allergen loads. The influence of other important aeroallergens should also be assessed during the pollen season. Conclusion: Allergen concentrations have an impact on pollen allergy sufferers although not as clear as assumed previously. The pattern of pollen load and major allergen content distribution does not directly explain the symptom load pattern, although significant positive correlations were found. Thus, monitoring of symptoms via voluntary crowdsourcing should be considered for future pollen and symptom forecasts in order to support pollen allergy sufferers. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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