Introduction: injuries from traffic accidents constitute one of the main health problems for the global population in the early 21st century. This study aims to determine if there is a greater prevalence of accident-causing driving among individuals diagnosed with asthma and/or rhinitis.
Method: patients visiting two health centers who were not afflicted with chronic disease were recruited consecutively over the course of three months. All participants ranged between 18 and 65 years old, and were habitual drivers. A group of ill patients with a diagnosis of asthma/rhinitis were also recruited from the pulmonology, allergy and ENT departments at the Hospital de Jerez. These patients were interviewed following a predetermined questionnaire, collecting demographic data, tobacco use, history of driving accidents, characteristics of the asthma and rhinitis and the Goldberg Anxiety-Depression Scale (GADS) was used to evaluate the existence of a psychiatric comorbidity. The prevalence of accidents was calculated in each group and among the patients with a diagnosis of rhinitis/asthma, as well as according to diagnosis and severity.
Results: 424 healthy individuals (49.3% women) were interviewed with an average age of 38. We also interviewed 185 patients with asthma/rhinitis (52.4% women), with an average age of 45. Of those interviewed, 67.6% suffered from rhinitis with or without asthma. A total of 33.8% of the control group and 41.6% of asthmatic patients (p <0.001) reported having suffered traffic accidents. Patients suffering only from rhinitis (n = 125) had more accidents than the healthy population in the control group (0.48 ± 0.51 vs 0.34 ± 0.47; p < 0.001). Accidents showed a correlation with the level of asthma control and the severity of asthma and rhinitis.
Conclusions: there is a higher rate of driving accidents among individuals suffering from asthma and rhinitis, which may be related to the severity of these illnesses.