Objectives To examine the effect of extreme temperatures on emergency department admissions (EDAs) for childhood asthma.
Methods An ecological design was used in this study. A Poisson linear regression model combined with a distributed lag non-linear model was used to quantify the effect of temperature on EDAs for asthma among children aged 0–14 years in Brisbane, Australia, during January 2003–December 2009, while controlling for air pollution, relative humidity, day of the week, season and long-term trends. The model residuals were checked to identify whether there was an added effect due to heat waves or cold spells.
Results There were 13 324 EDAs for childhood asthma during the study period. Both hot and cold temperatures were associated with increases in EDAs for childhood asthma, and their effects both appeared to be acute. An added effect of heat waves on EDAs for childhood asthma was observed, but no added effect of cold spells was found. Male children and children aged 0–4 years were most vulnerable to heat effects, while children aged 10–14 years were most vulnerable to cold effects.
Conclusions Both hot and cold temperatures seemed to affect EDAs for childhood asthma. As climate change continues, children aged 0–4 years are at particular risk for asthma.
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