Yonsei Med J.  2016 May;57(3):714-720. 10.3349/ymj.2016.57.3.714.

A Six-Year Study on the Changes in Airborne Pollen Counts and Skin Positivity Rates in Korea: 2008-2013

Affiliations
  • 1Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. cshong@yuhs.ac
  • 2Institute of Allergy, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Applied Meteorology Research Division, National Institute of Meteorological Science, Jeju, Korea.
  • 4Department of Pediatrics, Hanyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. jaewonoh@hanyang.ac.kr

Abstract

PURPOSE
The occurrence of pollen allergy is subject to exposure to pollen, which shows regional and temporal variations. We evaluated the changes in pollen counts and skin positivity rates for 6 years, and explored the correlation between their annual rates of change.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We assessed the number of pollen grains collected in Seoul, and retrospectively reviewed the results of 4442 skin-prick tests conducted at the Severance Hospital Allergy-Asthma Clinic from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2013.
RESULTS
For 6 years, the mean monthly total pollen count showed two peaks, one in May and the other in September. Pollen count for grasses also showed the same trend. The pollen counts for trees, grasses, and weeds changed annually, but the changes were not significant. The annual skin positivity rates in response to pollen from grasses and weeds increased significantly over the 6 years. Among trees, the skin positivity rates in response to pollen from walnut, popular, elm, and alder significantly increased over the 6 years. Further, there was a significant correlation between the annual rate of change in pollen count and the rate of change in skin positivity rate for oak and hop Japanese.
CONCLUSION
The pollen counts and skin positivity rates should be monitored, as they have changed annually. Oak and hop Japanese, which showed a significant correlation with the annual rate of change in pollen count and the rate of change in skin positivity rate over the 6 years may be considered the major allergens in Korea.

Keyword

Allergy; change; correlation; pollen; skin positivity rate; Seoul

MeSH Terms

Allergens/*immunology
Asthma/epidemiology/immunology
Humans
Hypersensitivity/*epidemiology
Pollen/*immunology
Republic of Korea/epidemiology
Retrospective Studies
Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal
*Skin Tests
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