Methods : The number of patients who had visited physicians for allergic rhinitis at Incheon and Seoul was obtained from the medical data of the National Health Insurance Corporation. Data of air pollution were obtained from the Air Pollution Measurement System from 2005-2008, which had been measured in 1 hour intervals. The air pollutants measured were CO(ppm), NO2(ppm), O3(ppm), PM10(mg/m3), and SO2(ppm). The level of air pollutants in each district was interpolated by kriging estimates of a Geographic Information System from measured data of air pollutants. After adjustment of age and annual number of automobile registration, a ridge regression model was used to determine the correlation of the prevalence of allergic rhinitis and the annual average concentration of air pollutants.
Results : The prevalence of allergic rhinitis in children and adolescent was 30.47% and 37.69 % in 2005 and 2008, respectively. The air pollutants that showed significant correlation with the prevalence of allergic rhinitis after adjustment were PM10 and ozone for 0-9 yrs of age, ozone for 10-14 yrs, and PM10 for 15-19 yrs.
Conclusion : In conclusion, PM10 and ozone may contribute in increasing the risk of allergic rhinitis. Therefore, it is considered that monitoring of both air pollutants and the prevalence of allergic rhinitis should be continued to clarify the effects of air pollutants on allergic rhinitis in Korea.