The National Allergy Bureau has a network of pollen counters across the country that uses air sampling equipment to capture airborne (pollen) allergens. The number of pollen grains are collected, counted, and recorded. Counting stations generally open in March and April, when pollen counts begin to grow. For people with a pollen allergy, the pollen count is a very important measure in their life.
In warmer climates, the stations remain open all year. A definition of pollen count is the number of ragweed pollen grains in a volume of air over a 24-hour time span, in a particular place. A pollen allergy can be adversely affected by high local pollen counts. Pollen allergy counts are generally based on a count of 1 to 12. A low count is four and under; moderate is 4-8; high is 8 or higher.
Since a pollen allergy is seasonal, there are places within the United States that might be better for some people to live where the count is lower. Many have considered Arizona and Nevada ideal because of the lack of plants that would spread wind-borne allergens. However, some cities have become more popular and residents bring plants and flowers with them; there has been an increase in pollen and, hence, pollen allergy sufferers.
Some people move to avoid certain plants or allergens, and sometimes this is helpful. Mountains and forests generally have a low degree of weed pollen but may have quite a bit of tree pollen. Mountains, however, if bare, would not have the same result. Areas with a lot of human population including homes and farms generally have a high amount of grass pollens. The Pacific Northwest has a lower degree of weed pollen but has standard amounts of all other types. These are indicators that someone with a pollen allergy must consider on a daily basis.
The Importance of Being Aware
No matter where one lives or vacations, it is important to heed the local pollen count and stay indoors and/or away from allergens as much as possible to keep a pollen allergy from interfering in the pursuit of a healthy and happy life. There are various prescription and over-the-counter medications that can prove helpful in dealing with annoying symptoms.
Avoiding a pollen allergy does not ensure that one will not have allergic reactions to other substances; for instance, smog, air pollution, and cigarette smoke are often more bothersome than pollen. An allergist or family practitioner can advise about relocation efforts or simple steps to take to make life more pleasant.