Introduction and objective:
Abundant evidence has shown that an increase in the concentration of fine particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) leads to a simultaneous increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases. Xigu District is the main industrial district of Lanzhou, located in Lanzhou City in northwest China and central Gansu Province. Because of limited research and data in the region, the impact of PM2.5 on human health has not been systematically recognized. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between PM2.5 pollution and upper respiratory tract infections in urban industrial areas of Lanzhou City.

Material and methods:
Data on outpatient visits, air pollutants, and meteorological indices were collected in the Xigu District of Lanzhou City from 1 January 2013 – 31 December 2019. A generalized additive model was used to evaluate the association between PM2.5 and outpatient visits for upper respiratory tract infections.

The results show that PM2.5 had the greatest impact on outpatient visits for upper respiratory tract infections on 7 cumulative lag days. At cumulative lag days 1, 3, and 5, the effects gradually increased. In the subgroup analysis, the effect of PM2.5 on visits for upper respiratory tract infections was significantly influenced by gender. Men were more susceptible to PM2.5 pollution.

An increase in atmospheric PM2.5 concentration was associated with an increase in visits for upper respiratory tract infections with the lag effect. The obtained results can provide a reference for the development of prevention strategies to protect the population from the adverse effects of PM2.5 pollution.

The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [71861026]
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