Goals: We aimed to assess the impact of very cold days on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) flares and infectious gastroenteritis (IG). We defined a cold day using the World Meteorological definition of an ice day, which is a day with a maximum temperature below 0°C.
Background: Recently, we have shown that heat waves increase the risk for IG and IBD flares.
Study: We retrospectively collected data from 738 IBD and 786 IG patients admitted to the University Hospital of Zurich between 2001 and 2005 and from 506 patients with other noninfectious chronic intestinal inflammations as controls. Climate data were received by the Swiss Federal Office for Meteorology and Climatology.
Results: There was no evidence for an increased risk of IBD flares (relative risk, RR = 0.99, 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.72-1.33, = 0.94) or IG flares (RR = 1.16, 95% CI: 087-1.52, = 0.30) on very cold days. This negative finding was confirmed in alternative formulations with lagged or cumulative (possibly lagged) effects.
Conclusion: In this retrospective controlled observational study, no evidence for an increase in hospital admissions due to flares of IBD and IG during cold days was observed. This may be attributed to not relevantly altered bacterial growth conditions during cold days compared to heat waves.