Based in Toronto and New York City

, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Getting Pollen Counts

Problem: You suffer from allergies and want data on pollen conditions at or far from home.

Solution: Pollen.com offers free, two-day email alerts for U.S. locations according to ZIP Codes.

Alerts are trigered whenever pollen levels in a ZIP Code reach 4.0 or above on a scale of 1 to 12. You also can see longer, four-day allergy forecasts. Free PC applications called Yahoo Widgets and Google Gadgets allow monitoring of local pollen activity using Yahoo or Google calendars on your computer desktop. Enter a ZIP Code at Pollen.com's sister site, www.pollenlibrary.com, to learn about the pollen-producing tress, grasses and weeds in your county. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology's site http://www.aaaai.org/nab/index.cfm (click on "pollen counts") runs more than 70 pollen-counting stations in the U.S., Canada and Argentina, for which you can get email alerts.

For pollen counts in Europe, try www.polleninfo.org, for all-English reports. The site includes links to pollen sites outside of Europe, though not all of them have good English translationa.

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