THE AMAZING SCIENCE BEHIND TRACKING POLLEN IN SPRING
If you’re one of 50 million Americans with indoor or outdoor nasal allergies1, you know an increase in pollen or mold can put a wrench in your day. Luckily, the Weather Channel has partnered with Flonase Allergy Relief to bring you a game-changing piece of technology.
The Weather.com Allergy Tracker tracks daily pollen counts based hyper-specifically on your location. It can tell you what allergens to be wary of, hot spots around the country and the pollen forecast for the week. But that's only the beginning.
The science behind this data is a story in itself, and you’ll be surprised at all the factors that are going in to helping prepare you and your nasal passages for the day ahead.
Here are some of the features of our Allergy Tracker, the impressive science behind them and how they can benefit your allergies.
DOCTORS AROUND THE COUNTRY COLLECT POLLEN COUNTS
You may have noticed that the Weather.com Allergy Tracker adjusts to your specific location -- with data on tree, ragweed and grass pollens all in one module.2 But how do we get those local pollen counts?
According to Sean Rogers, Senior Product Manager at Weather.com, you and your allergies have doctors all around the U.S. to thank.
"Doctors all over the United States have these allergy test kits that collect what's in the air and can collect the PPM (parts per million) of the allergen. It's interesting because these doctors are reporting it as a free public service and then it is given to us."
If you think giving a pollen count based on your zip code is specific, you’ve seen nothing yet. The Weather.com Allergy Tracker can be even smaller than a zip code -- there can be many readings within one small area, so you’re getting the most accurate pollen count around.3
This is especially helpful for people in microclimates where you can get different readings in a small region.
“It's a hyper local way to track allergies,” Rogers said. “You drive down the street and there's five allergists in an area and they'll all be reporting the pollen count. There's micro climates all over the country -- in the same zips you can have five different readings. Most of our [weather] forecasts are zip code level but the pollen levels can be much smaller.”
As opposed to other companies,4 the Weather.com Allergy Tracker gives the actual amount of pollen in the air as well as the forecasted amount. With these data points working together, you’re given the most accurate reading to keep you from being ambushed by a blast of pollen.
“A forecast alone is not as accurate,” Rogers said. “A service may say, 'well, this is based on the fact that humidity is high and it's the season -- we think allergy is high.’ It’s more guesswork. Ours is based on that combined with actual allergen counts.”
Also worth noting, natural airborne concentrations are relative to the location shown, so what is considered a 'very high' pollen count in one region may differ from that in another.
If you have mold allergies, scientists have your back. In regions with historically high mold counts, our tracker shows mold spore levels. This is a service many others do not provide.
“Texas is known for having really bad mold issues, so right now the mold is really high,” Rogers said. “There are only some providers that collect mold -- we have access to only ones that do. In Austin you would see outdoor mold spore levels which is really helpful for people with mold allergies.”
- Pollen Allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology website. http://acaai.org/allergies/types/pollen-allergy.
Accessed February 15, 2018
- Allergy Sufferers – Plan Ahead with New Allergy Tracker on weather.com, Know When Weather May Affect Your Nasal Allergy Symptoms.
The Weather Company Website. http://www.theweathercompany.com/AllergyTrackerFlonase. Accessed February 15, 2018
- Allergy Tracker. The Weather Company website. https://weather.com/forecast/allergy/l/USNY0833:1:US . Accessed February 15, 2018
- National Allergy Bureau. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts?ipb=1.
Accessed February 15, 2018