Atlanta Allergy & Asthma News

What Does the Pollen Count Really Mean?

Updated on Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Patients with allergies have symptoms triggered by a variety of factors. One of the major culprits here in metro Atlanta is pollen. Allergists need to know what pollens are in the air and how they may impact their patients in order to effectively treat them.

This is the primary reason Atlanta Allergy & Asthma has been dedicated to collecting daily pollen counts for more than 25 years. We are the official pollen counting station in metro Atlanta and the only local station certified by the National Allergy Bureau.

What Causes Pollen In Atlanta?

Pollen is released from plants to reproduce. Larger pollens are transferred by insects, smaller microscopic pollens are windblown. Insect pollenated plants include colorful flowers, whereas windblown pollen includes the hardwood trees, grasses and certain weeds.

Springtime allergy symptoms here in Atlanta are caused by the hardwoods (ex. Oak, Elm, Cedar) which have windblown pollen.

How Is the Pollen Count Collected and Measured?

A special device called a Rotorod is used to collect the pollen. The machine is placed high above the ground on a rooftop and collects the pollen over a 24-hour period.

Our specially trained, certified technicians remove the pollen collection slide from the Rotorod collector early each morning. This slide is then processed with a special stain and examined under a microscope where the pollen grains are counted. The pollens can be identified by their size and shape. Using a standardized calculation, the pollen count for that day is determined.

Given the necessary 24-hour collection period, this number actually represents the number of pollen grains in a cubic meter of air over the previous 24-hours.

Pollen counts are dependent on a number of factors including temperatures, wind, and rain. We do not forecast pollen counts. “Predictive models” that utilize historical data and weather forecasts have proven unreliable because, as they say, “nothing changes like the weather.”

Pollen Allergy Treatment

Once patients identify their specific allergic triggers through allergy testing, a customized treatment plan can be developed to control your symptoms. Schedule an appointment today with one of the board-certified allergists at Atlanta Allergy & Asthma.

What Is the Pollen Count Today in Atlanta?

Patients with pollen allergies should follow the daily pollen count at or sign up to receive a daily alert.