Ambient air pollution, weather and daily emergency department visits for headache

Alina Vodonos, Victor Novack, Yair Zlotnik, Gal Ifergane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background Headache is a common condition, and a common complaint leading patients to emergency departments (ED). There have been a number of studies of the effect of environmental factors on headache, such as weather and air pollutants. Methods This retrospective cohort study included data on daily ED visits with a chief complaint of headache in Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) during 2002-2012. Data on weather and air pollutants were obtained from monitor station in Be'er-Sheva. To estimate the short-term effects of air pollution and temperature on number of daily headache ED visits, we applied generalized linear mixed models (GLMM). Results A total of 22,021 ED visits were included in the analysis. An increase in 5°C in temperature was associated with an increase in ED visits, relative risk (RR) = 1.042, (95% CI 1.009; 1.076). RR for headache was associated with an increase in 10 units of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), RR = 1.110 (95% CI 1.057; 1.167), with a higher effect for older patients. Discussion The current findings give evidence of an association between air pollution, weather and ED visits for headache, especially for NO2. Short-term increases in air pollution exposure may trigger headache by increasing pulmonary and systemic inflammation, increasing blood coagulability or altering endothelial function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085-1091
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust exposure
  • air pollution
  • emergency department visit
  • headache


Dive into the research topics of 'Ambient air pollution, weather and daily emergency department visits for headache'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this