Hay fever (seasonal allergy) 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. It could also trigger an asthma attack in allergic and asthmatic patients.

To control hay fever symptoms, it is important to monitor pollen counts.

Knowing the pollen count will help you limit your outdoor exposure if the count is high on certain days or weeks. Also, hay fever medications work better if you start them proactively, before the allergy season starts and symptoms occur. For instance, if you start taking the medication before the pollen starts to affect you, you will prevent the immune response to the allergen (pollen) that releases the chemical mediators like histamine which are responsible for sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, itchy eyes etc. As a result, allergy symptoms are prevented from beginning or are much less intense. Know your local pollen count. Visit www.theallergygroup.com or our Facebook page. At The Allergy Group, pollen counts are measured with a Rotorod sampler. The Rotorod sampler is a simple and portable air sampler. It consists of a U-shaped metal rod attached by a spindle to an electric motor. The motor causes the upright arms of the metal rod to rotate at high speed. To use the sampler, the upright arms are covered with narrow strips of sticky tape, so that any spores in the air will impact onto the tapes. Then the tapes are removed and examined microscopically to identify the pollen in the air.

Do not confuse pollen counts with pollen forecasts.

Pollen forecasts are predicted based on the previous year’s pollen counts and current weather conditions. Whereas, the pollen counts are the exact current count measured with an instrument (eg. Rotorod) for that particular day. The pollen counts are as specific as they could be for your local area. Pollen counts measure pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. Change of season causes different trees, grasses or weeds to bloom and hence close monitoring of these counts can tell you what’s coming and what your symptoms are going to be, particularly, if you know what you are allergic to.

Know what you are allergic to, through skin prick tests within 15 minutes.

Allergy tests, combined with medical history and physical examination, can give precise and reliable information about what you are, and what you are not, allergic to. Skin testing is the most reliable form of allergy testing. Results of skin testing have proven to be more accurate than blood testing in diagnosing allergies. This is a safe, minimally invasive, easily interpreted, simple in-office procedure where a very small amount of a specific allergen or allergens selected by the allergist is introduced. The allergen is introduced through an indention or “prick” on the surface of the skin. Allergy skin tests are not painful. This type of testing uses needles that barely penetrate the skin’s surface. There is no bleeding. You may feel mild, momentary discomfort. The results are available within 15 minutes. You can then compare what you are allergic to with the recent pollen count, to determine how your pollen exposure can be limited to better control your allergy and asthma symptomsCheck daily local pollen count at www.theallergygroup.com or like  THE ALLERGY GROUP  on Facebook.