Meet Marie, The Woman Behind the AAAC Pollen Count
Marie has been with the Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic for 31 years and is the head of the department that determines the daily pollen count that so many Atlantans have come to depend on. AAAC started counting the pollen in 1983 to assist their doctors in the treatment of their patients. Knowing what allergens are in the air, and thereby causing symptoms, can assist in both testing and treatment.
Originally the count was only distributed to the AAAC doctors. Then the count was posted in the waiting room of the six clinics that existed at the time. Eventually the patients started calling the clinics to find out what they count was each day. So AAAC began the Pollen Hotline. Anyone could call the line to hear the daily count. Soon the media became interested in providing this information to its viewers and listeners and a fax list was developed. Marie remembers entering each individual fax number on that list--taking more than an hour at times!
In 2000, the first Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic website was developed and the count was available on the site. Today, at the height of spring pollen season, more than 7,500 subscribers receive a daily pollen count email.
In 1990, our technicians began participating in a rigorous program to achieve and maintain their certification to count pollen and mold. At that time, AAAC had the only certified pollen monitoring station in the Southeast. Our technicians are now certified through the National Allergy Bureau. The AAAC station is currently the only certified pollen monitoring station in Metro Atlanta.
As Marie recalls her years at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic, she notes that even with the technological advancements in the broadcasting the count, we still count the pollen very much the same way we did back in 1983. An air sample is taken high above the ground, and our technicians identify and count each individual pollen grain under a microscope.
Thanks, Marie, for your years of service!