The association between air pollution and outpatient and inpatient visits in Shenzhen, China

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Nowadays, air pollution is a severe environmental problem in China. To investigate the effects of ambient air pollution on health, a time series analysis of daily outpatient and inpatient visits in 2015 were conducted in Shenzhen (China). Generalized additive model was employed to analyze associations between six air pollutants (namely SO2, CO, NO2, O3, PM10, and PM2.5) and daily outpatient and inpatient visits after adjusting confounding meteorological factors, time and day of the week effects. Significant associations between air pollutants and two types of hospital visits were observed. The estimated increase in overall outpatient visits associated with each 10 μg/m3 increase in air pollutant concentration ranged from 0.48% (O3 at lag 2) to 11.48% (SO2 with 2-day moving average); for overall inpatient visits ranged from 0.73% (O3 at lag 7) to 17.13% (SO2 with 8-day moving average). Our results also suggested a heterogeneity of the health effects across different outcomes and in different populations. The findings in present study indicate that even in Shenzhen, a less polluted area in China, significant associations exist between air pollution and daily number of overall outpatient and inpatient visits.