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In the last couple of weeks, pollen-loaded air over large parts of Europe (in particular Central and Northern Europe) has been clearly visible in early morning Meteosat High Resolution Visible (HRV) images as a yellowish haze. Seasonal fires in Russia might be partly to blame, additionally the clear weather conditions and a late start to the pollen season, a wet April, followed by a warm, sunny early May have combined to see birch catkins releasing an enormous amount of pollen grains over just a few days, affecting many allergy sufferers. Also people who normally do not have allergic reactions to pollen have suffered asthma attacks due to heavy birch pollen. Sunday 7 May 2006 was a dreadful day for people in Denmark allergic to birch pollen, the pollen count breaking the country's highest 1993 records. According to the UK's National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU), "The pollen count is a measure of the number of pollen grains of a certain type per cubic metre of air sampled, averaged over 24 hours. The reported counts are usually for grass, birch and nettles and refer to the previous 24 hour period up to 9am that day.¦ The pollen count indicates when prophylactic treatment should be started and when medication can be stopped at the end of the season. The daily pollen forecasts can be used to warn sufferers of adverse conditions so that they can modify their activities and take medication as required."  The European Pollen information website provides national alerts on the various pollen counts across Europe.