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Novel insight into pollution, pollen and rhinitis using mobile technology

November 28, 2019

The impact of air pollutants on the severity of allergic rhinitis symptoms, and its modification by pollen exposure, is still a matter of debate. Real-life studies have never been conducted using an mHealth App.

In a recent issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, B├ędard and colleagues investigated associations between major air pollutants (ozone and PM2.5) and allergic rhinitis control during grass and birch pollen seasons as well as outside the pollen season. The daily impact of allergic symptoms was recorded by the Allergy Diary - MASK-air - App (a validated mHealth tool for rhinitis management) using visual analogue scales (VASs). Uncontrolled allergic rhinitis was defined using symptoms and medications. Pollutant levels were assessed using System for integrated modelling of atmospheric composition (SILAM). Pollen seasons were assessed by regions using Google Trends.

A total of 36,440 VAS days were recorded by 3,323 geolocated individuals in Northern and Central Europe in 2017 and 2018. The results of this study suggest a deleterious effect of air pollution (particularly ozone) on allergic rhinitis control, especially during the grass pollen season. Differences between pollen seasons were found, suggesting that the deleterious effects of exposure to pollen are magnified by exposure to air pollutants.

These results show the importance of air pollution and allergen concentrations, as well as their interaction, as predictors of intensity of rhinitis symptoms. These findings suggest that mobile technology may provide a novel insight into the management of allergic rhinitis and the development of next-generation Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) guidelines that will embed real-world-evidence, aerobiology and air pollution.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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