This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI
Seasonal allergic rhinitis known as hay fever is caused by pollen carried in the air during different times of the year in different parts of the world. If you are allergic to pollen, this allergen triggers symptoms such as sneezing, stuffiness, a runny nose and itchiness in your nose, the roof of your mouth, throat, eyes or ears.
To control hay fever symptoms, it is important to monitor pollen counts so you can limit your exposure on days the counts are high. Also, hay fever medications work best if started before allergy symptoms develop. So, if you start taking allergy medications before you first come into contact with spring allergens, the medication can prevent the release of histamine and other chemicals. As a result, allergy symptoms are prevented from developing or are much less severe.
Pollen counts are different than pollen forecasts. Forecasts are predicted based on the previous year’s counts and current weather conditions. The counts are reported for specific plants such as trees, grasses, and weeds and mold spores.
Pollen counts are measured with an instrument that is usually situated on a rooftop where it collects spores for a 24-hour period. The instrument is then taken to a lab where the collected material is analyzed for pollen types and concentration.
To keep your hay fever symptoms in check, visit the National Allergy BureauTM and view accurate pollen counts in your area.
The National Allergy Bureau (NAB) is the section of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (AAAAI) Aeroallergen Network that is responsible for reporting current pollen and mold spore levels from counting stations throughout the United States. These stations were all required to meet stringent certification standards.