It was a difficult week for people with hay fever: due to the extreme spring weather of the last few days, pollen was already present in the air.
With their pollen catcher at the Elkerliek Hospital in Helmond, volunteers are able to measure exactly how much pollen, and what kind of pollens, there are in the air.
Maria van den Eijnden is one of the voluntary ‘pollen counters’ at the hospital. She has many years of experience, but she says she has not experienced the counts like in the past few days. “I counted 7,000 units last week. Normally it is a few hundred at this time of the year.”
The pollen catcher is placed on the roof of the hospital. The device works in a simple but effective manner. The pollen is sucked out of the air with the help of a nozzle and then end up on an adhesive strip. The strip rotates once a week, so that it is possible to reconstruct exactly what kind of pollen is ‘trapped’ at what time. At the moment, the alder and hazel trees are the culprits. “Family of the birch,” Maria explains, “many people are bothered by this at the moment.”
What you can do about it? Other than getting medicine from your doctor, Maria recommends putting on sunglasses or applying Vaseline to the inside of your nose. This is so the pollen makes as little contact with your mucous membrane as possible.
Translated by: Chaitali Sengupta
Edited by: Melinda Walraven