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Pneumonia Weather?? Short-term Effects of Meteorological Factors on Emergency Room Visits due to Pneumonia in Seoul, Korea
Sangho Sohn1 , Wonju Cho2, Jin A Kim2, Alaa Altaluoni2, Kwan Hong1, Byung Chul Chun1
1Department of Preventive Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
2Korea University Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding Author: Byung Chul Chun ,Tel: +82-2-2286-1169, Fax: +82-2-927-7220, Email: chun@korea.ac.kr
Received: October 4, 2018;  Accepted: December 31, 2018.
Many studies have explored the relationship between short-term weather and its health effects (including pneumonia) based on mortality, although both morbidity and mortality pose a substantial burden. In this study, the authors aimed to describe the influence of meteorological factors on the number of emergency room (ER) visits due to pneumonia in Seoul, Korea.
Daily records of ER visits for pneumonia over a 6-year period (2009-2014) were collected from the National Emergency Department Information System. Corresponding meteorological data were obtained from the National Climate Data Service System. A generalized additive model was used to analyze the effects. The percent change in the relative risk of certain meteorological variables, including pneumonia temperature (defined as the change in average temperature from one day to the next), were estimated for specific age groups.
A total of 217,776 ER visits for pneumonia were identified. The additional risk associated with a 1째C increase in pneumonia temperature above the threshold of 6째C was 1.88 (95% CI, 1.365-2.611). Average temperature and diurnal temperature range, representing within-day temperature variance, showed protective effects of 0.07 (95% CI, 0.919-0.933) and 0.04 (95% CI, 0.940-0.978), respectively. However, in the elderly (65+ years), the effect of pneumonia temperature was inconclusive, and the directionality of the effects of average temperature and diurnal temperature range differed.
The term 'pneumonia temperature' is valid. Pneumonia temperature was associated with an increased risk of ER visits for pneumonia, while warm average temperatures and large diurnal temperature ranges showed protective effects.
Key words: Pneumonia; Weather; Emergency outpatient unit; Generalized additive model; Public health
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