How the Pollen Count Is Measured


Pollen

In last week’s blog “Allergens Are Coming: Be Prepared,” we discussed the rising pollen count and how it will affect your seasonal allergies. Actually, we talk about pollen count a lot, but have you ever wondered exactly what it is and how it is determined?

WebMD explains that the pollen count is determined by a formula that measures the number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air. The result fluctuates due to location and weather conditions, but no matter what, the higher the number, the worse you feel.

How is pollen count measured?

The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) actually has volunteer counters that must be certified through the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). The criteria for the position is high:

This program requires candidates to successfully complete both a 70 question multiple choice exam and a slide identification exam based on the “Knowledge Base for Counters.” The exam has a pass rate of 80%.To be a pollen counter, an applicant must accurately identify and count pollen on an actual pollen slide. To be a mold counter, an applicant must accurately identify and count mold spores on an actual mold slide (AAAAI).

These counters use machines called volumetric air samplers or rotation impact samplers, depending on whether they are counting both mold and pollen or only pollen, respectively. The actual pollen and mold spore count is reported and then matched to the appropriate level (low, moderate, high, very high) on the NAB pollen chart. This information later appears on pollen count and news websites.

Credit: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

Credit: American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology

This process is extremely interesting, but you really don’t need fancy equipment and a national bureau to tell you that the pollen count is high — your runny nose; itchy, watery eyes and sinus headache are all the proof you need. On the other hand, at CT Sinus Center, we offer numerous processes that can keep you breathing freely and enjoying your life no matter what the pollen count is.

With a patient-centered approach, our expert physicians will talk to you about your allergies and perform thorough skin testing to figure out exactly what is causing your symptoms. They will then create an individualized treatment plan that will have you saying goodbye to your allergies forever.

You may even be eligible for Balloon Sinus Dilation, an in-house process in which a small balloon is inflated in the nasal cavity under local anesthesia to promote drainage and natural healing. The benefits of this procedure include:

  • Long-term relief
  • Minimal downtime and recovery time
  • Increased airflow in nasal passages
  • Decrease in headaches
  • Non-invasive procedure done under local anesthesia

Now that is a process that is both interesting and relevant to your good health.

To see what we can do for you, call CT Sinus Center today at (860) BALLOON and schedule an appointment at one of our three conveniently-located offices.

For more information on all things sinus– and allergy-related, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.

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