Table of Contents
ISRN Allergy
Volume 2011, Article ID 537194, 7 pages
Research Article

The Association of Tree Pollen Concentration Peaks and Allergy Medication Sales in New York City: 2003–2008

1Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave L. Levy Pl., Box 1512, New York, NY 10029, USA
2Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032-3727, USA
3Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA
4Urban Public Health Program, Hunter College, City University of New York School of Public Health, New York, NY 10010, USA
5New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, New York, NY 10007, USA
6Louis Calder Center, Biological Field Station, Fordham University, Armonk, New York, NY 10504-1104, USA

Received 24 January 2011; Accepted 8 March 2011

Academic Editors: A. Kantar and Á. Moreno-Ancillo

Copyright © 2011 Perry E. Sheffield et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The impact of pollen exposure on population allergic illness is poorly characterized. We explore the association of tree pollen and over-the-counter daily allergy medication sales in the New York City metropolitan area. Dates of peak tree pollen (maple, oak, and birch) concentrations were identified from 2003 to 2008. Daily allergy medication sales reported to the city health department were analyzed as a function of the same-day and lagged tree pollen peak indicators, adjusting for season, year, temperature, and day of week. Significant associations were found between tree pollen peaks and allergy medication sales, with the strongest association at 2-day lag (excess sales of 28.7% (95% CI: 17.4–41.2) over the average sales during the study period). The cumulative effect over the 7-day period on and after the tree pollen peak dates was estimated to be 141.1% (95% CI: 79.4–224.1). In conclusion, tree pollen concentration peaks were followed by large increases in over-the-counter allergy medication sales.