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Frequently Asked Questions About Pollen Forecasting And Sampling for Allergy Alerts

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How do we create our pollen forecasts?

The pollen forecasts that are provided by are a daily outcome of the extensive research which IMS Health has performed over the past 20 years and are the driving force behind our Allergy Alerts.

An extensive database of pollen activity is the starting point for IMS Health's computation of the detailed and accurate forecast of pollen levels for the period of the next three days. This database provides us with the knowledge of the seasonal timing of pollination of the all of the various allergy-causing plants found in each geographical area of the country. Daily past pollen counts from our extensive network are accessed and compared with normal seasonal patterns.

The second major element resulting from IMS Health's extensive research is the study of how pollen levels vary based on several predictable factors. Powerful models have been developed or improved upon by our researcher staff in order to apply each of these many external variables against each pollen type.

The amount of each type of pollen being carried by air in your area does in fact vary, often dramatically both daily and relative to other cities. The pollen level for each of the pollen types varies from one season to the next as well. Much of this variation is caused by changing weather conditions which occur both ahead of the season and on a day-to-day basis throughout the pollination period.

The level of pollen from each currently pollinating allergenic plant type is then combined into a single forecast value in much the same way as your local meteorologist creates the weather forecast.

If all of this sounds complicated, it is, and that's why we convert the complicated pollen levels of all plant types in a single easy to understand pollen level. This level can then be interpreted by the hay fever sufferer and viewer into the ranges of low, medium or high for each of the next three days.

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