Patterns of asthma symptoms and perceptions of harm from seasonal atmospheric events in rural western Montana

John C. Schumpert, Curtis W. Noonan, James Sylvester, Diana Vanek, Tony Ward, Andrij Holian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To characterize the frequency of and relationship between self-reported asthma symptoms and physician-diagnosed asthma, identify seasons associated with heightened symptoms, and describe the influence of seasonal atmospheric events and ambient environmental factors on asthma symptoms and perceptions of harm, a seven-county region of Western Montana was surveyed, utilizing a two-stage sampling method. Respondents were queried concerning asthma-related history, symptoms, and environmental concerns. Of 2,790 respondents, 12% reported physician-diagnosed asthma. Eighteen percent reported one or more and 9% reported two or more asthma-related symptoms. Over 70% of asthmatics reported worsened asthma symptoms during wildland-fire smoke exposure. Of those reporting summer as the season they experienced the greatest breathing problems, 81% reported breathing problems from wildland-fire smoke (p < 0.01). Of those reporting worsened symptoms in fall or winter, 61% reported breathing problems during winter inversions (p < 0.001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Asthma
  • Environmental exposure
  • Natural disasters
  • Smoke
  • Wildland fire
  • Winter inversion

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