LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

LSU Health New Orleans Pollen Data Contributing to Potential COVID Association Study

pollen counters at station

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reached out to LSU Health New Orleans on behalf of researchers at Technical University of Munich (TUM) for its year-to-date pollen count data. The data are being used in an analysis of COVID-19 and a potential association of the co-exposure to pollen and the cumulative health effects.

The TUM research group published a study last year in the journal Allergy that found exposure to pollen weakens innate defense against respiratory viruses. They wrote, “Taken together, our results indicate that pollen exposure itself modulates the antiviral defense of the respiratory epithelium. This might be of special relevance for individuals with chronic respiratory diseases where viral infections are a main cause of severe exacerbations. Furthermore, nonallergic individuals at risk for respiratory infections might also benefit from restricting their extensive outdoor activities when pollen and respiratory virus seasons coincide, particularly during days with high pollen counts. However, large‐scale clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings and to formulate guidelines for people at risk.”

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Leslie Capo

Office: 504-568-4806

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New Orleans started this year with moderate pollen levels, and LSU Health New Orleans reported the first high level of pollen January 6, 2020. Pollen has been at moderate to high levels most days since.

LSU Health New Orleans collects and reports pollen counts daily to New Orleans television stations, LSU Health New Orleans faculty who treat patients with allergies and the National Allergy Bureau of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI.) LSU Health New Orleans is the only pollen counting station certified by the AAAAI in Louisiana and the only one between Florida and Texas along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

ragweed pollen
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