Airborne pollen grains and small plant particles of respirable size are the main causes of rhinitis and asthma in pollinosis patients. Consequently, it could be useful to quantify atmospheric variations in these biological aerosols and their allergenic activity as a basis for establishing correlations with the clinical symptoms in these allergic subjects. Our study was conducted in Naples from May to August 1992 and from May to August 1993 and concentrated on Parietaria judaica (Par j) the most important hay fever-provoking plant in southern Italy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the day-to-day variation in counts of Par j. pollen, the day-to-day variation in allergenic activity specific for this plant, and to relate these two variables to symptom scores in patients with respiratory allergy to Par j. The airborne pollen grains were collected by a Hirst-like volumetric trap and examined through an optical microscope, while the allergenic activity of particles trapped on glass fibre filters in a high volume air-sampler was determined by immunochemical assay. The two devices were placed on the flat roof of the 'A. Cardarelli' Hospital. The results of this preliminary study suggest that both methods could have useful clinical relevance, since these two biological parameters were significantly correlated with the symptom scores of allergic patients. However, pollen count with morphological quantification of grains/m3 of air is a more simple technique.