Hay fever affects people differently and can change over a lifetime, but data is lacking on how environmental factors may influence this. This study is the first to combine atmospheric sensor data with real-time, geo-positioned hay fever symptom reports to examine the relationship between symptom severity and air quality, weather and land use. We study 36145 symptom reports submitted over 5 years by over 700 UK residents using a mobile application. Scores were recorded for nose, eyes and breathing. Symptom reports are labelled as urban or rural using land-use data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics. Reports are compared with AURN network pollution measurements and pollen and meteorological data taken from the UK Met Office. Our analysis suggests urban areas record significantly higher symptom severity for all years except 2017. Rural areas do not record significantly higher symptom severity in any year. Additionally, symptom severity correlates with more air quality markers in urban areas than rural areas, indicating that differences in allergy symptoms may be due to variations in the levels of pollutants, pollen counts and seasonality across land-use types. The results suggest that a relationship exists between urban surroundings and hay fever symptoms.
|Publication status||Published - 2023|