Tracking pollen in Delaware

    Doctors at Delaware’s duPont Hospital for Children are now part of network tracking pollen across our region.

    This time of year is like tax season for allergist Christopher Chang.

    He leads the immunology division–and cares for kids with springtime sniffles–at duPont Hospital. Knowing when pollen is thickest can help patients enjoy the outdoors and know when to take their medication .

    “Or sometimes if it’s not necessary that they go out, and it is a big heavy allergy day, then they may choose on that day not to go out,” Chang said. “We may advise them that they keep their windows closed and they use their air conditioner.”

    The collector on the hospital roof is pretty simple. A vacuum sucks pollen through a slot and grains gets trapped on sticky tape inside.

    Researchers use a microscope to count the pollen, and then post the information on the website of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

    Many allergy suffers are convinced this pollen season is worse than last year, experts won’t know for sure until the tally comes in next year.

    Mike Tringale is a spokesman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American.

    He says this winter’s big snows and heavy rains didn’t help.

    “The more water that plants have to grow, the more they grow, and the more they pollenate,” Tringale said.

    Tringale says not all people are allergic to the same pollen.

    “So a worse allergy season for one person may be a great allergy season for somebody because it may not be their pollen that’s prevalent in the air. So it’s a very personal diagnosis,” he said.

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