Associations between climate variables and asthma visits to accident and emergency facilities in Trinidad, West Indies

Marsha A. Ivey, Donald T. Simeon, Solaiman Juman, Rhonda Hassanally, Keturah Williams, Michele A. Monteil

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to describe patterns in weekly asthma visits to Accident and Emergency (A&E) facilities in Trinidad during 1997 and to examine associations with climatic conditions. A census of patients with asthma, defined as those who required bronchodilator nebulization, was taken at five A&E facilities in the Caribbean island of Trinidad from 1 January to 31 December 1997. Data on patients' ages, gender and dates of visits were obtained from the A&E records. Climate variables, including rainfall, temperature, relative humidity and wind speed, were obtained from the island's meteorological office. There was a total of 27 848 asthma visits to the five facilities during 1997, of which the pediatric population (> 16 years) accounted for 43.7%. There were steady increases in adult and elderly visits from January to December. In the pediatric population, there was a decrease in visits from weeks 5-36 in the year, followed by a sharp increase during the next 3 weeks. This sharp increase coincided with the start of the academic school year in September after a 2 month break. The results of multiple regression analysis indicated that pediatric visits to the A&E were positively associated with temperature and wind speed, while visits by adults were positively associated with temperature and relative humidity. There were no independent predictors of asthma visits in the elderly. The results show that there is an association between the climate and asthma visits in Trinidad. However, there is a need for further research to explain the increase in pediatric visits at the start of the school year as well as to elucidate the mechanisms for the observed associations between asthma visits and climate variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalAllergology International
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001

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Keywords

  • Accident and Emergency facilities
  • Asthma
  • Caribbean
  • Climate
  • Trinidad
  • Tropics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy

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