Impact of Wildfire Smoke Exposure on Health in Korea

Kihyun Lee, Sung Soo Oh, Kyoung Sook Jeong, Yeon Soon Ahn, Sei Jin Chang, Se Hwa Hong, Dae Ryong Kang, Sung Kyung Kim, Sang Baek Koh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The characteristic topography and climate often affect the occurrence of large-scale wildfires in the Eastern Gangwon-do region of Korea. However, there are no studies on the health effects of these wildfires in Korea. This study aimed to analyze the differences in medical use between a wildfire-affected area and an adjacent non-affected area before and after a wildfire in 2019 in Gangwon-do, Korea. Materials and Methods: We used medical usage data from the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation. Rates of medical use were determined for citizens of a wildfire-affected area in the Eastern Yeongdong region and a non-affected area in the West-ern Yeongseo region. Logistic regression analysis was performed considering an increase in medical use per individual as a de-pendent variable; age, sex, income, smoking, drinking, and exercise were included as confounding variables. Results: The odds ratio for medical use in Yeongdong region increased significantly after 3 days, 3 months, and 1 year after a fire occurred, compared with Yeongseo region. Conclusion: The results of this study confirmed that the use of medical care increased for residents of a wildfire-affected area, compared with those of an adjacent non-affected area. This is the first study on the relationship between wildfires and inpatient medical use in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)774-782
Number of pages9
JournalYonsei medical journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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