Decoding Weather Health Warnings

There's potentially vital health information in those confounding and confusing weather boxes and indexes. If you understand the facts, you'll be prepared for whatever the wind blows your way.
Pollen Count

How It's Measured

Counting centers use microscopes to count grains of pollen, says Mike Seidel, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel. Then the pollen-count level is categorized (green, yellow, orange, or red) for each type of pollen mold, grass, tree, or weed).

When You Feel It

People with allergies will feel symptoms when the count tips into the yellow range.

What to Do

Because pollen counts are highest from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., don't sleep with your windows open, advises Dr. Pamela A. Georgeson, president of Kenwood Allergy and Asthma Center in Chesterfield Township, Michigan. Run the air conditioner to filter allergens. Before bed, take a shower to remove pollen that may be sticking to you.

Where to Look

Refer to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology site at to find pollen-counting centers near you.

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