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The patient’s hay-fever diary: three years of results from Germany


The patient’s hay-fever diary (PHD) is a newly developed, internet-based tool for self-documentation of pollen-induced symptoms (eyes, nose and airways), general well-being and medication use. In Germany, more than 1,600 users made over 60,500 reports in 3 years (2009–2011). An analysis of these reports reveal that the nose symptom “sneezing” is the most commonly reported (3/10 of reports), followed by eye symptom “itching” and nose “blocked”. In addition, medication use follows a similar pattern every year, with tablets being the most commonly used medication type (up to 60 % of the reports made in the years 2009 and 2011). Temporal variations in overall symptoms and organ-specific symptom scores are found to be associated with atmospheric concentrations of birch and grass pollen. Data from the PHD can be analysed with the aid of various mathematical methods and may provide information about symptoms and their severity for pollen-allergic sufferers. They may also be valuable for clinical studies in immunotherapy with pollen extracts.

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The authors greatly acknowledge the contribution of all colleagues involved in the pollen concentration data collection, as well as in the operation and maintenance of the EAN and PHD databases. We would also like to greatly acknowledge all those PHD users contributing information via the PHD and to state that no ethical issues arise from this study and from the use of PHD data. All information was handled as anonymous.

Ethical standard

The authors of this paper state that they have taken into account the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. All users of the PHD have given their consent prior to their inclusion in the PHD while in addition they had the option to give information anonymously. Details that might disclose the identity of the subjects participating in the study have been omitted. All data related to persons that have registered their symptoms and medication use to the PHD have been treated anonymously in this paper. On this basis, no ethical issues arise from this study and from the use of PHD data.

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Correspondence to K. Karatzas.

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Karatzas, K., Voukantsis, D., Jaeger, S. et al. The patient’s hay-fever diary: three years of results from Germany. Aerobiologia 30, 1–11 (2014).

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  • Pollen
  • Symptoms monitoring
  • Pollen hay-fever diary