Meet the "Pollen Lady" - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Meet the "Pollen Lady"

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email                                      

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The pollen numbers are courtesy of VAPA, but who is the woman behind these numbers?

VAPA Allergist Becky Collie has climbed these steps five days a week for 21 years and after all that time together, she's developed a fondness for pollen.

The rooftop rotorod sampler collects the pollen, then she goes downstairs and counts it.

"That's pine! How cute is that! Is that a little sick that I think pollen is cute? But I do," said Becky.

If you are one of those people who has an allergy, it's not cute at all. But Becky's hard work let's you know what to expect each day.

Under the microscope, she literally counts the pollen particles. Those nasty particles aren't harmful, but our bodies think they are.

"Offshoot off our immune system thinking pollens, molds, pet danders are harmful to us," said Dr. Feinstein.

Allergist Dr. Barry Feinstein says our nasal passages aren't just irritated, they are overreacting to a harmless substance. But treatment is available. Allergy shots can help train you over time,

"So your body will recognize the allergins and not freak out," said Becky

A cool spring caused a late start to the tree pollen season. But it has been intense. Becky thinks we are almost out of the woods.

"I think it'll be wound down by the end of the week," Becky said.

But grass pollen has just started and ragweed, won't be here until late summer.

And this time of year the pollen gets all over everything. Becky says rain can help wash away pollen, but with rain comes ideal growth conditions for mold, which can also cause an allergic reaction.

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