High pollen counts spell trouble for allergy sufferers in Lane County

Who is ready for some rain again?

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - The grass pollen count has skyrocketed back into the "very high" category in Lane County after the rain over the weekend.

On Tuesday, the count was nearly at 500. For reference, anything over 200 is considered very high by the Oregon Allergy Associates.

The organization uses a special machine that traps pollen in the air, but when it comes to getting the actual number, the process is simpler than you might think.

High grass pollen has people seeking relief, and many people are checking the daily pollen count.

Judy Moran, with the Oregon Allergy Associates, is the person behind the numbers. The process is done by a machine that sits outside the OAA building, sucking in air all day. The pollen sticks to a greased slide, which is then magnified 400 times the human eye for scientists to examine.

"I'm looking to see the type of pollen that it is, as well as the quantity," said Moran.

Moran counts each microscopic pollen particle, which is then added to a formula that determines the pollen count for the previous 24 hours.

On the 500-count days, Moran doesn't just count, she also takes an image to determine what kind of pollen it is.

"Some of them are not easy to identify because you're looking at 3D objects in 2D form," said Moran.

Moran says that the pollen count isn't consistent all day, and in the end your allergy symptoms could show up regardless of the numbers.

"Nobody is like the machine, sitting outside and spinning for 24 hours," said Moran. "Your nose is definitely the better pollen sampler." forecasts grass pollen levels to retreat to the Medium High range Wednesday and Thursday before returning to Very High on Friday and Saturday.

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