Plant pollen is a well-known trigger for hay fever and allergic conjunctivitis at certain times of the year, or even all year round.
For the four out of five people with asthma who also have allergies, it is helpful to know which pollens can cause symptoms as some can be more easily avoided than others.
Pollen from imported grasses, weeds and trees, which are blown about by the wind cause the most symptoms. Australian native plants generally do not, although the cypress pine can cause problems. In New Zealand some native plants, such as Rimu, Pohutukawa and Rata can be triggers.
Allergies are not usually triggered by plants with lots of flowers as they produce less pollen which is transported by bees.
An itchy, runny or blocked nose due to allergies can make your asthma harder to control. If that sounds like you, make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
- If you live in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane or Canberra, check the pollen forecast (available during the main pollen season) in each city
- Check the guide to common allergic pollens
- It is important to manage your condition with the help of your doctor and by taking prescribed medications as directed
- Allergy testing can help identify specific triggers, along with recording when and where you experience symptoms
- There are over-the-counter products that may help symptoms, so talk to your pharmacist or doctor
In your garden
- Do not mow grass yourself and when it is being mown, stay inside. If you have to mow, wear a mask or take a non-drowsy antihistamine if your doctor suggests
- Consider putting plants pollinated by birds or insects in your garden, as these are less likely to trigger your hay fever or asthma
- If you are sensitive to certain weeds or trees outside your bedroom window, have them removed
In your home
- Keep windows closed
- Don’t dry washing on an outside clothesline
- Indoor plants aren’t usually a problem, but they can cause symptoms because of mould growth or fragrances
- Shower and wash clothes that you’ve worn outside when you get home and rinse your eyes with water
- If you still have symptoms indoors, an air purifier may help
Getting out and about
- Use your prescribed medications before going outside when pollen can’t be avoided, and keep your asthma reliever with you
- Avoid going outdoors on days with high or extreme pollen counts, on windy days or after thunderstorms. Wear sunglasses (or normal glasses) to protect your eyes
- Keep windows closed when you’re in the car. Make sure your car has cabin air filtration (and the filter is changed occasionally) and/or use recirculating air conditioning in your car
- Avoid picnics in the park or country areas and try to plan your holidays out of pollen season or holiday at the seaside
You might also like to check out our Sensitive Choice Creating a Healthy Home page which has great tips for managing pollen and other triggers in and around your home.
Information contained in this brochure is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a doctor.