Inhalation incidents are an important cause of acute respiratory symptoms, but little is known about how these incidents affect chronic respiratory health.Methods
We assessed reported inhalation incidents among 3,763 European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) participants with and without cough, phlegm, asthma, wheezing or bronchial hyperresponsiveness. We then examined whether inhalation incidents during the 9-year ECRHS follow-up period were associated with a new onset of any of these respiratory outcomes among 2,809 participants who were free of all five outcomes at the time of the baseline ECRHS survey.Results
Inhalation incidents were reported by 5% of participants, with higher percentages reported among individuals with asthma-related outcomes at the time of the baseline survey. Among participants without symptoms at baseline, our analyses generated non-statistically significant elevated estimates of the risk of cough, phlegm, asthma and wheezing and a non-statistically significant inverse estimate of the risk of bronchial hyperresponsiveness among participants who reported an inhalation incident compared to those without such an event reported.Discussion
Our findings provide limited evidence of an association between inhalation incidents and asthma-related symptoms. These data could be affected by differences in the reporting of inhalation incidents according to symptom status at the time of the baseline survey; they should thus be interpreted with caution.