Non-anthropogenic dust exposure and asthma medication purchase in children Academic Article uri icon


  • Air pollution has been shown to increase frequency of asthma attacks, as usually measured by hospitalisation rates. We hypothesise that purchase of asthma reliever medications will reflect a broader association between the environmental exposure and asthma exacerbations. In a time series analysis, we estimated the association of dust storms with mild asthma manifestations, as indicated by medication purchases, during 2005-2011. We compared our results with the estimation of the association of dust storms with hospitalisations due to asthma and asthma-like symptoms. We detected 289 dust storms characterised by high levels of particulate matter <10 μm in diameter. We identified 42 920 children with asthma, wheezing or asthma-like symptoms, of whom 2418 were hospitalised. We observed a higher risk of asthma medication purchase on the day of a mild dust storm (relative risk 1.05, 95% CI 1.00-1.10). The next peak in drug purchases was 3 days later and was more pronounced among Bedouin-Arab children. Stratified analyses showed higher risks for hospitalisation among Bedouin-Arab children; especially among children living in temporary houses (relative risk 1.33, 95% CI 1.04-1.71). We observed an increased risk of asthma medication purchase associated with mild dust storms. The risk observed for hospitalisation was more pronounced among the rural Bedouin-Arab population.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015