University of Oulu

Kaisa Pyrhönen, Petri Kulmala, Occurrence of pollen season at the end of the first trimester predicts clinical atopic diseases in the offspring: A Finnish population-based study, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Volume 225, 2020, 113452, ISSN 1438-4639,

Occurrence of pollen season at the end of the first trimester predicts clinical atopic diseases in the offspring : a Finnish population-based study

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Author: Pyrhönen, Kaisa1,2; Kulmala, Petri2,3
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2PEDEGO Research Unit and MRC Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Biomedicine Research Unit, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 10 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-29


Objective: To evaluate the association between potential exposure to different pollen concentrations at the 11th fetal week and subsequent clinical atopic diseases.

Study design and setting: Parents of 1- to 4-year-old children (N = 3035) returned a questionnaire regarding physician-diagnosed atopic diseases. The children were born between 2001 and 2005 in the province of South Karelia, Finland. Results of allergy tests were collected from patient records in the area.

Results: The prevalence of atopic diseases with sensitisation was higher in children whose 11th fetal week occurred during pollen rather than non-pollen season: atopic eczema 6.3% vs. 4.3% (adjusted odds ratio, aOR 1.58, 95% CI 1.10─2.28), food allergy 5.7% vs. 3.9% (1.63; 1.12─2.38), respiratory allergy or asthma 3.7% vs. 2.2% (2.03; 1.24─3.33) and any atopic diseases 7.4% vs. 5.5% (1.48; 1.07─2.05), respectively. Respectively, the prevalence was higher in the children exposed to high rather than low tree pollen concentrations (>1000 vs. <10 particles/m³) at the 11th fetal week: 12.1% vs. 4.4% (3.35; 1.89─5.95), 12.1% vs. 3.9% (3.77; 2.11─6.72), 4.7% vs. 2.5% (2.95; 1.21─7.20) and 14.0% vs. 5.7% (3.15; 1.86─5.35).

Conclusion: Coincidence of potential exposure to high tree pollen concentrations at the 11th fetal week is associated with subsequent clinical atopic diseases with sensitisation.

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Series: International journal of hygiene and environmental health
ISSN: 1438-4639
ISSN-E: 1618-131X
ISSN-L: 1438-4639
Volume: 225
Article number: 113452
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113452
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
3123 Gynaecology and paediatrics
Funding: The data collection was mainly funded by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland and partly by EVO grants from the hospital districts of South Karelia and Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland by Lappeenranta City Council, Finland and personal grants to the principal investigator from following Finnish Funds and Foundations: the Finnish Cultural Foundation, South Karelia Regional fund (Lauri and Lahja Hotinen Fund: 05040244, 05060176), the Viipuri Tuberculosis Foundation, the Väinö and Laina Kivi Foundation, the Tyyni Tani Foundation, Kymenlaakson Terveyden Turva ry, the Allergy Foundation, and the Medical Society of South Karelia. The work of the principal investigator (KP) was funded in years 2012–2014 by University of Oulu and Lappeenranta University of Technology and in 2016–2018 by the Finnish Cultural Foundation (Pekka and Jukka-Pekka Lylykari's Fund: 00170869), South Karelia Regional Fund (05162106 and Lauri and Lahja Hotinen Fund: 05181935), and in 2018–2019 by the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation and EVO grants from the hospital district of Northern Ostrobothnia. The work of the second author (PK) was supported by the research grants from the Alma and K.A. Snellman Foundation, Finland, the Finnish Medical Association, the Allergy Research Foundation, Finland and the Finnish Pediatric Research Foundation. None of the funding organisations was involved in the design or execution of the study.
Copyright information: © 2020. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license