One in seven people living in Germany, which means about 12 million people in total, suffers from symptoms of pollen allergies ranging from allergic rhinitis through hay fever to anaphylactic shocks. The symptoms appear with the beginning of the flowering season of the respective allergenic plants. That is why allergic patients are dependent on daily updated information about pollen dispersal in order to precisely adjust their medication and plan possible outdoor activities.
The pollen exposure in the city of Augsburg is subject of a CK-CARE research project which takes place at the University Centre for Health Sciences (UNIKA-T). The results from this research project should provide a more detailed view of local pollen allergen exposure. Its chief aim is to enable doctors and allergic patients to use preventive and therapeutic treatments in the best possible way.
Since the beginning of April 2015, pollen exposure has been measured by means of the BAA500 automatic pollen sampler from the company Hund, which is installed at the Bavarian Environment State Agency (LfU) adjacent to the University of Augsburg. This sampler draws in the surrounding air and afterwards counts the pollen contained therein with a precision of over 90 percent.
Until now, airborne pollen have been measured with conventional pollen traps. These traps draw in the surrounding air and fix the pollen contained therein on an adhesive tape. The corresponding tapes are prepared by hand after the sampling. Following this, the pollen have to be counted manually under an optical microscope. This process is time consuming and must only be performed by trained staff. Due to the time consuming tape preparation and the ensuing counting, relevant data can be provided within one day after the sampling at the earliest, though normally within ten days. Therefore, when using the conventional traps, any pollen forecast has to be built upon data that is several days old.
The new automated pollen sampler provides relevant data within three hours after the sampling took place and the resulting forecasts are considerably more adequate.