Professor Connie Katelaris and Mrs Pamela Burton have been conducting pollen and spore counts for many years in the Sydney region. Both are accredited pollen counters and have done numerous training courses overseas to fine tune their skills. The current pollen count is generated from a pollen trap situated at Campbelltown Hospital, Campbelltown, NSW.
For a number of years, our daily pollen level and forecast has been provided to the Asthma Foundation of NSW where it appears on their website during the spring season.
The service provides a daily pollen count and forecast during the months of September until December. The count is updated daily at 8am and is available on the website. We monitor pollen levels throughout the year. The graphs on the website demonstrate the annual variability in pollen levels.
Members of the general public who suffer from the allergic conditions such as hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis) and seasonal asthma benefit.
Up to 50% of the population have the potential to suffer from these conditions and 25% of the population suffer regularly.
Hay fever and seasonal asthma can cause severe respiratory distress in sufferers.
Pollen allergy is an important cause of hay fever and may contribute to asthma symptoms during the pollen season. Data for our allergy service at Campbelltown Hospital shows that approximately 50% of patients presenting with respiratory allergy are sensitised to various grass pollen.
If forewarned, people with hay fever and asthma can take preventative measures such as commencing preventative medication and having specific treatments on hand to treat acute symptoms. While it is impossible to avoid the outdoors those affected may chose indoor activities, preferably in air-conditioned environments, on high pollen days.
Pollen is trapped using a pollen trap( the one in use is a Burkard volumatic air sampler) located on the rooftop of Campbelltown Hospital. This collects the pollen grains and other particles on a microscope slide. The slide is removed daily and pollen grains on the slide can be counted when viewed with a microscope. Daily measurements are taken and combined with the weather forecast to produce a pollen forecast for the next few days.
The count and forecast are supplied to users of the service at the same time each day. The count is given as a qualitative assessment, on a scale from low to extremely high, and as actual values of the number of pollen grains per cubic meter of air/total number of all pollen types. For example, 30/105 means there were 30 grass pollen grains and 105 pollen grains of all types per cubic meter of air in the preceding 24-hr period.