BACKGROUND: Google Trends (GT) searches trends of specific queries in Google, which potentially reflect the real-life epidemiology of allergic rhinitis. We compared GT terms related to ragweed pollen allergy in American and European Union countries with a known ragweed pollen season. Our aim was to assess seasonality and the terms needed to perform the GT searches and to compare these during the spring and summer pollen seasons.
METHODS: We examined GT queries from January 1, 2011, to January 4, 2017. We included 15 countries with a known ragweed pollen season and used the standard 5-year GT graphs. We used the GT translation for all countries and the untranslated native terms for each country.
RESULTS: The results of "pollen," "ragweed," and "allergy" searches differed between countries, but "ragweed" was clearly identified in 12 of the 15 countries. There was considerable heterogeneity of findings when the GT translation was used. For Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, the GT translation was inappropriate. The country patterns of "pollen," "hay fever," and "allergy" differed in 8 of the 11 countries with identified "ragweed" queries during the spring and the summer, indicating that the perception of tree and grass pollen allergy differs from that of ragweed pollen.
CONCLUSIONS: To investigate ragweed pollen allergy using GT, the term "ragweed" as a plant is required and the translation of "ragweed" in the native language needed.
- Journal Article