Climate may cause hay fever in U.S. children

Published Online: October 7, 2014

Hay fever is a significant cause of morbidity and public health burden. However, little is known about the prevalence of childhood hay fever across the US and the impact of climate on hay fever prevalence.

In a study recently published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Silverberg and Braunstein studied the prevalence of hay fever and associated climate factors using data from the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health, a study of 91,642 children and adolescents from all 50 states in the U.S.

Hay fever occurred in 18.0% of U.S. children. There was a wide range of prevalences across different states (10-25.1%) with the highest prevalences occurring in southeastern and southern states. Hay fever prevalence was higher in states that had lower outdoor humidity, overall dryer conditions, hotter outdoor temperature and less indoor heating, higher precipitation, and higher pollen counts.

This study provides the first U.S. population-based estimates of hay fever prevalence in children. The results suggest that climate factors may trigger or perpetuate hay fever and may contribute to the high rates of hay fever seen in U.S. children.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is an official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter