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Allergy and asthma clinic to use new pollen counter
Clinic to experiment with 2 different devices
The new pollen counter, on the right, collects samples from the top of a pole next to the Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Northeast Georgia. - photo by Tom Reed

If you are like many people in Northeast Georgia who suddenly get the sniffles every time the seasons change, you are likely experiencing an allergy.

What if you could know exactly what and how much of the type of pollen that causes your suffering is in the air at any given time?

The Allergy and Asthma Clinic of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville will begin using a new pollen counter, the only one like it in the state, to measure the amount and variety of pollen in the air locally.

The Allergy and Asthma Clinic is one of only two places in Georgia certified to do pollen counts.

Their results will be more accurate with the addition of the new device, a Burkard pollen counter.

The clinic has been using a more common device called a Rhotorod. The clinic plans to combine the results of the two counters and provide allergy sufferers with a comprehensive solution.

"We want to make sure we've got every kind of pollen that's out there," nursing supervisor Shannon Allegood said.

Allegood said having the pollen counters will particularly help people who do not know the source of their allergy. If someone suffers from allergy symptoms in the first few weeks of every fall, the clinic will know exactly what and how long specific allergens have been in the air and can pinpoint the patient's particular allergy.

"It's really good at different times of year to know what's out and when," Allegood said.

Allegood said the clinic plans to experiment with the two devices. They will compare the results of each device to see if the counts match.

"I think it will be different because they are so different," Allegood said.

The Burkard pollen counter is similar to a vacuum.

It captures air samples and pollen is caught inside by a silicon grease. Doctors can then sort through the sample to count allergens in the air.

The more commonly used Rhotorod pollen counter, is a device that spins rapidly and exposes two silicon grease coated rods to the air. Anything in the air will be caught on the rods. The problem with the Rhotorod is that some of the larger, more dense spores may bounce off once they hit the rods, making the Burkard the more accurate device.

"It's just a very accurate way of counting pollen," Allegood said.