HeathBeat4: How allergy experts find the daily pollen count in S - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HeathBeat4: How allergy experts find the daily pollen count in Siouxland


When allergy season strikes, KTIV teams up with Siouxland Allergy and Asthma to help you fight back. Each day, we bring you the local pollen count. Health officials said knowing this information can help patients manage their symptoms, but where does that number come from? In HealthBeat4, KTIV's Brianna Clark goes to new heights to find out.

"We started doing the pollen count because our doctors were interested in knowing what exactly is going on in our area," said Shannon Patton.

Shannon Patton is a registered nurse at Siouxland Allergy and Asthma in Sioux City. Everyday she goes up to the roof of the Mayfair Center. Up here is where all the magic happens. This is a rotorod sampler and at the bottom of it is a little device that spins every nine minutes for 60 seconds, catching whatever debris is in the air. Once back inside, Shannon transfers the debris on to a slide and then uses a special red dye as a stain.

"The pollen will absorb that stain and then the characteristics of that pollen will show up," said Shannon.

Because most allergens are to small for the eye to see, Shannon uses a microscope.

"And we actually go along and count every little pollen that's on that teeny tiny rod," said Shannon.

After a few math problems, Shannon compares her numbers to the National Allergy Bureau's scale.

"At that point, based on the number we have and what the scale says, we then report whether those pollen levels are low, medium, high or occasionally very high," said Shannon.

That information then comes here to KTIV, so our Storm Team Four can deliver it to you everyday.

"So that's how we are able to let our patients know what particular trees are out this time of year," said Shannon. "So, people who know if they have that particular tree allergy, grass allergy, weed or whatever, to be a little bit more careful. That may be what's going on and it all makes sense to them."

For you allergy suffers having a difficult time this season, Siouxland Allergy and Asthma wants to remind you of a few simple steps to help relieve your allergy symptoms: 1.) Keep your windows closed when indoors. 2.) Avoid drying your clothes outside. 3.) Shower before going to bed. 4.) Keep and eye on the pollen count.

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