Early spring brings higher numbers of asthma-related hospital admissions

Credits: DimiTalen via Wikimedia Commons, cropped
Birch catkins, or flowers
Thu, Jul 30, 2020

In a nutshell

An earlier start to spring is becoming commonplace, with myriad consequences for humans and other species alike. To evaluate whether the timing of spring onset is associated with rates of asthma-related hospital admissions, a team of researchers looked at hospitalization data in the state of Maryland from March to May of 2016-2019. The team used NASA’s MODIS satellite data to calculate the timing of spring onset for each county in Maryland and pollen monitoring data to determine the length of pollen season. They found that early spring was associated with a 17% increase in hospital admissions for asthma, while a late start of spring was associated with a 7% decrease.

What is special about this study?

This study is the first to look at the association between plant phenology, pollen concentration, and asthma hospitalization.

What does this mean for YOU?

Researchers can use information about the timing of spring season to anticipate the severity and timing of allergy season, providing personalized early warning systems that may reduce asthma hospitalizations.

Citation:  Sapkota, A., Y. Dong, Linze Li, G. Asrar, Y. Zhou, X. Li, F. Coates, A.J. Spanier, J. Matz, L. Bielory, A.G. Breitenother, C. Mitchell, and C. Jiang. 2020. Association between changes in timing of spring onset and asthma hospitalization in Maryland. JAMA Netw Open 3(7). doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.7551.