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Aerobiology Research Weblog
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New Allergy season- what are we to expect 
This is a new season for pollen and mold allergies. One must wonder what to expect and if anyone can tell us what kind of a season it's going to be. Well we can give an educated guess and one could be right or wrong. Generally I figure one might not be right.

We have done many years of research to try and predict if this is going to be a high season for the tree pollen. We have not even tried for the mold spores. We have had some success in being able to see some relationship between weather and high or low seasons. Part of the difficulty is that not all trees react the same to weather. Also trees are affected several times in the year where the amount of pollen available will depend on what the weather is doing.

In the summer months, when the trees are producing their pollen reserves for next year, many things can affect how much is produced by the trees. A hot dry summer will create a situation completely different from a cool wet summer and each type of tree will also react differently to the weather. So the maple trees will react differently from the oak trees etc.

The next time the weather has a profound affect on how much pollen will be left on the trees in the spring is what kind of winter we will have. I am assuming that a winter with lots of snow, to protect the trees, might be a positive event for them to protect their pollen reserves that are already on the trees for spring. If we get freezing rain and it knocks off some of the pollen reserves from the trees well that is going to create a situation where less pollen will be available in the spring.

The next factor is what kind of spring we have. If we have a stretch of warm weather and the trees have been fooled into preparing to release their pollen and if this is followed by a long enough stretch of cold weather this will also have a profound affect on the ability for the trees to release much pollen.

The more obvious weather events that affect pollen release is when the trees are already pollinating. A great deal of rain will often knock off the pollen from the trees. This will mean that the tree will have fewer catkins on them and less pollen to be released in the air. Again a cold snap after the pollen season has begun will also have an affect on the level of pollen released by the trees.

This is a very complex system and putting it together to be able to say what kind of a pollen season we are going to have is really difficult. Mother nature is hard to understand.

Also this field of Aerobiology and the study of pollen and fungal spores in the outdoor air is really in it's infancy and not really taken seriously enough.

Now for the spores. Lots of dead material from the trees and grasses and you have lots of fungal spores. Rain and fog really have a profound affect on lower their levels in the air. Rain washes out pollen and fungal spores. However some types of fungal spores really like it after a good rain storm and are very abundant. Other fungal spores, like Cladosporium, like the hot dry weather.

I hope this helps people somewhat and when they hear somebody in the news say this is going to be the worst allergy season that this is not to be taken seriously. It's a science that is hard to understand and one cannot say anything about what type of season we are going to have unless they have data and have done many years of research.

Enjoy and have a good allergy season. I mean that in the kindest way

Frances


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Usefulnes of reports on pollen and fungal spores 
Ahh it is the end of the season for reporting and collecting samples at all of our sites across Canada.
Another year of producing reports for the public for phone applications, web sites and television.

I often wonder how useful the public find these reports. It's something that is asked every year and I would really like to have some idea if this information actually helps people or not. From the emails and phone calls that I get I feel that this is a very useful service we provide. We would not be doing this unless it was.

Our business is such that it depends on making these reports useful to the public that need this type of information to assist on improving their daily lives.

We get criticism some times from certain allergists that feel these reports are not good information and should not exist.

Well I would really like to know for our information and confirming my beliefs that people should have access to this type of information and use it in which ever way they wish. Particularly if it helps them understand better what the possible relationship is between what is happening with outdoor allergens and their reactions.

Sincerely

Frances



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Knowledge, Media, Allergists, and the Impression they leave on the Public 
Today is a fine day in our city.
I have been interviewed by so much media this year due to the impact of El Niņo and the different type of outdoor allergy season we are having.

Interviews are really good since they get the message out there to the public and to the people that the subject matters to.

Now it is up to the interviewers to get the information from the right source and to present the information properly. This is something that too often is not done. Why would anyone, but a meteorologist, be a an authority about this weather that we have had this year. Why would anyone but a person with knowledge on the environment be an authority about this very unusual year unless they were educated and knowledgeable about the impact this is having on the environment. Well the same goes for the study of outdoor allergens.

Why would an allergist comment on this year's season when they have no knowledge of what is happening with outdoor allergens. Why would the media not go to the proper source to get their information. The pollen and mold season DO VARY a great deal from year to year.

Too often information is not provided by the right people on many topics and also the media may not portray the issue properly simply because of the way they present an interview. Perhaps they don't feel that the topic is sexy enough by being presented factually. WHO KNOWS.

We've had many media interviews this year. Many came to the right source, our company, which is the only one that has real data on outdoor allergens and knows the science that is involved in this area. It is a very important science since it tells us a great deal as to how trees, weeds and fungal spores are reacting to certain weather events or to climate change.

Many people depend heavily on the media as their source of information and it is important to them that they get the right information. So why not go to the proper source and present the information properly, for the GOOD of the people that this information is supposed to reach?

I have to mention one interview that I had this year, with CTV, and it was really well done -- both the interview itself as well as their presentation on the web and on television. They did an excellent job when they presented the information our company provided. Congratulations to CTV job well done from beginning to end.

I urge all media, pharmaceuticals, doctors, who deal with patients that suffer from seasonal allergies, to pay attention to what is really happening out there and to get the facts straight.

Allergies and asthma are extremely important to people's health and well being and also to the economy. If people and doctors stay informed, allergies will be treated with knowledge and information and not misconceptions. Come on everyone, get informed from the proper source.

This is presented with a view that is mine but with a deep sense of commitment to get the information right and to present it to the people who matter -- THE PUBLIC.


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