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2018 | 72(6) | 44-53
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The dynamics of pollen seasons of the most allergenic plants - 15-year observations in Warsaw

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Introduction: Allergic rhinitis concerns nearly 25% of the Polish population. Among pollen allergens, the most common reasons for allergic rhinitis are: grass, birch and mugwort. Knowledge of the characteristics of pollen seasons is necessary in diagnostics, monitoring of therapy and prevention of allergic rhinitis. Purpose: This work aims to analyze pollen seasons of the most allergenic plants in the Polish population; grass, birch and mugwort in the years 2003–2017 in Warsaw. Material and methods: Measurements of pollen concentration were carried out using Burkard volumetric spore trap operating in continuous mode. Analysis of pollen seasons was conducted based on the following characteristics: beginning, end, and length of season, the seasonal pollen index (SPI), defined as the sum of average daily pollen concentrations over the year, maximum daily concentration, number of days with maximum and threshold concentration. Linear regression together with the Pearson correlation coefficient were used in statistical analysis to study the relationship between variables; furthermore, descriptive characteristics of distributions studied were determined. Results: The average beginning of the birch pollen season in the analyzed period is April 10th, and it belongs to seasons of medium length (47 days on average). Birch pollen count above 75 grains/m3, when most allergic people develop symptoms, was recorded for an average of 18 days. The highest daily birch pollen count reaching 6321 grains/m3 (2012) exceeded the lowest value of the maximum concentration by almost 20 times (2015). Among the taxa analyzed, the highest values of daily counts and annual sums were recorded for birch pollen. The average date for the beginning of grass pollination season is on May 13th. It is the longest pollen season (on average 134 days), and the period when concentration exceeded 50 grains/m3 covered an average of 26 days. The highest daily grass pollen counts reaching
496 grains/m3 (2007) exceeded the lowest value of maximum concentration by 3.5 times (2016). The average date of the beginning of mugwort pollen season is July 16th. The season lasts 65 days on average, when concentration exceeding 30 grains /m3 was registered for an average of 12 days. The highest daily mugwort pollen count reaching 154 grains/m3 (2007) exceeded the lowest value of maximum concentration by 4 times (2013). For all analyzed taxa, the strongest correlated variables are the sum of average daily pollen concentrations over the year (SPI ) and daily maximum concentration (correlation for birch pollen = 0.92, for grass pollen = 0.88, and for mugwort pollen = 0.91). Conclusions: Periods of pollen in the air show certain variation in the analyzed 15-year period. The maximum concentration in the pollen season for the analyzed taxa and the the sum of average daily pollen concentrations over the year show the highest variability, particularly strongly expressed in the case of birch pollen. There is a linear relationship between the sum of average daily pollen concentrations over the year and the maximum concentration value as well as the number of days with the threshold concentration for all analyzed taxa. Variability of parameters describing the dynamics of pollen seasons indicates the need to monitor, both by patients with hay fever and physicians, the current information on the concentration of pollen in the air during the pollen season.
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