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Am J Ind Med. 2004 Jul;46(1):42-54.

Prevalence and predictors of respiratory symptoms among New York farmers and farm residents.

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Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, New York State Department of Health, Troy, New York 12180-2216, USA.



Data from telephone interviews with New York farmers and farm residents were used to study the prevalence and risk factors of symptoms that could be related to asthma and allergies.


Participants were asked if they had wheezing or whistling in the chest in the past year and about the occurrence of stuffy, itchy, runny nose or watery, itchy eyes in the past year.


The prevalence of wheeze was 18.2% and of stuffy nose/watery eyes was 57.4% (N = 1,620). Significant risk factors for wheeze were cigarette smoking, a systemic reaction to allergy skin testing, immunotherapy, or insect sting, reactivity to a pet, having goats, and more acreage in corn for silage. Significant risk factors of stuffy nose/watery eyes were younger age, having more than a high school education, being a worker on the farm, and having done spraying.


Wheeze may be indicative of existing or latent asthma, a potentially limiting respiratory illness. Stuffy, itchy, runny nose or watery, itchy eyes, which may cause irritation and discomfort, may also indicate an increased sensitivity to respirable dusts and chemicals. This cohort of New York farmers had significant farm-related risk factors for wheeze and stuffy nose/watery eyes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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