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Frequently Asked Questions About Pollen Forecasting And Sampling for Allergy Alerts

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How do you use pollen counts in your pollen forecasts? Where do you have pollen counting stations in my city?

Allergy Alert pollen forecasts are based on a variety of environmental and seasonal factors including past and current pollen counts and the weather conditions. Pollen counts report estimates of the pollen concentration in the atmosphere over the past 24- to 72-hour period. The pollen forecasts estimate how much pollen an allergy sufferer is likely to be exposed to for up to four days in the future. The weather forecast plays a part in the hay fever sufferer's life.

IMS Health Incorporated, the company behind and the Allergy Alert forecast, stores vast amounts of historical pollen data, as far back as the 1960's for some stations. They run a large network of pollen counting stations, obtaining data daily from hundreds of locations around the country. These stations must use acceptable equipment such as the Rotorod® Sampler or the Burkard® Spore Trap. IMS Health's pollen counting sources provide coverage for each of the locations for which we issue a pollen forecast. We do not reveal the sources for our data for privacy and proprietary, competitive reasons. Some pollen counts are conducted privately, and are not meant to be broadcast to the public. IMS Health is able to obtain these counts in agreement that we are using them internally only.

IMS Health's staff gathers data via telephone, fax, worldwide web, and email, and adds the data to our data set. They offer instructional support to pollen counters by way of courses, reference materials, sample analysis quality control, equipment loans and sales, and technical telephone support. After qualifying current pollen counts against their historical trends, IMS Health then calculates the forecast using other meteorological and climatological factors such as the weather.

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