The absolute density of OH radicals generated in a nanosecond pulsed filamentary discharge in atmospheric pressure He +0.84% H2O is measured independently by UV absorption and laser induced fluorescence (LIF) calibrated with Rayleigh scattering. For the calibration of LIF with Rayleigh scattering, two LIF models, with six levels and four levels, are studied to investigate the influence of the rotational and vibrational energy transfers. In addition, a chemical model is used to deduce the OH density in the afterglow from the relative LIF intensity as function of time. The different models show good correspondence and by comparing these different methods, the accuracy and the effect of assumptions on the obtained OH density are discussed in detail. This analysis includes an analysis of the sensitivity to parameters used in the LIF models.