Allergy Asthma Respir Dis.  2019 Oct;7(4):192-198. 10.4168/aard.2019.7.4.192.

A study on the correlation between outbreak of allergic rhinitis and airborne pollen in September

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon, Korea.
  • 2Environmental Health Center of Allergic Diseases, Inha University Hospital, Incheon, Korea.


Various studies have investigated factors related to the prevalence of allergic rhinitis (AR). We studied the correlation between the outbreaks of AR and airborne pollen in September.
According to data from the National Health Insurance Service, the number of AR cases was increased from 2012 to 2016. During the same period, the number of patients with upper respiratory tract infection, respiratory virus detection rate, air pollutants, and concentration of airborne pollen were correlated with the occurrence of AR in correlation analysis.
The number of patients with AR showed increasing biphasic patters in the spring and fall with the peak reached in September (278,487±12,894), while April marked the fifth-highest figure with 241,570±132,677. The concentration of airborne pollen was highest at 4,450 grains/m³ in May, followed by 3,597 grains/m³ in April, marking its peak in the spring. September marked the third-highest level at 1,619 grains/m³. According to the monthly correlation between the number of patients with AR and pollen, Seoul and Daejeon showed correlations of ρ=0.929 (P=0.022) and ρ=0.955 (P=0.011), respectively, in September. There were no significant correlations among AR, air pollutants, and respiratory virus detection rate.
Based on this study, the monthly number of patients with AR was the highest in September. In September, we found the correlation between allergic rhinitis and pollen, although there are regional limitations, regarding outbreaks in the number of patients with AR. Further research and attention are needed to prepare measures against airborne weed pollen during the fall.


Allergic rhinitis; Pollen; Environment

MeSH Terms

Air Pollutants
Disease Outbreaks
National Health Programs
Respiratory Tract Infections
Rhinitis, Allergic*
Air Pollutants


  • Fig. 1. The number of patients of allergic rhinitis from National Health Insurance Service during 2012–2016. The group of allergic rhinitis patients where the actual treatment was performed show a marked increase in spring and fall, with the highest average prevalence in September.

  • Fig. 2. The number of patients of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) from National Health Insurance Service during 2012–2016. The number of URI patients also shows a biphasic pattern, which increases the rate in spring and winter and the lowest in summer. Compared to allergic rhinitis, the largest number of patients is in March.

  • Fig. 3. The monthly air pollutants concentration during 2012–2016. The peak monthly concentration of air pollutants was different from allergic rhinitis (AR) and was not correlated with AR.

  • Fig. 4. The airborne pollen concentration during 2012–2016. The monthly concentration of airborne pollen counts consisting of trees, grasses, weeds reached a peak in April and May, and then again increased in September.

  • Fig. 5. The respiratory virus detection rate during 2012–2016. The detection rate of respiratory viruses was the highest in February. It was the lowest in August and the second lowest in September.



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