READING: Does pollen trigger your hayfever? Seven ways to reduce your symptoms

Managing My Hayfever

Does pollen trigger your
hayfever? Seven ways to
reduce your symptoms

Airborne pollen is one of the most common triggers of hayfever in Australia. Here’s how to control your exposure to pollen.

Two min read

Contrary to popular belief, flowers are unlikely to trigger your hayfever symptoms.

That’s because airborne pollen is one of the most common triggers of hayfever in Australia and flower pollen seldom floats in the air.

If you have an allergy to pollen from a specific plant, your body overreacts and releases defence chemicals such as histamine to defend itself.

This is what triggers your sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and other symptoms.

The main causes of pollen allergies are grasses, weeds and trees, which release their pollen into the air that we breathe. Flowers rely mostly on birds, bees and other insects to spread their pollen, so we don’t breathe in their pollen.

In most parts of Australia, the pollen count is highest on calm, hot, sunny days in late October, November and December. However, Queensland is different, and January may be particularly problematic for people with a pollen allergy.

Symptoms of pollen allergy include

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Congested nose
  • Snoring

Complications include:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Recurrent ear infections in children
  • Recurrent sinus infections in adults
  • Asthma that is more difficult to control

Reducing your exposure to pollen

  1. Try to stay indoors as much as possible if your pollen trigger is in the air.
  2. Avoid mowing the lawn or other activities that are likely to expose you to pollen.
  3. Take a shower and change your clothes after exposure to pollen outdoors.
  4. Avoid going out during or after thunderstorms when the pollen count is high.
  5. If you are experiencing hayfever symptoms, keep the windows closed at home and in the car. Use recirculating air conditioning if possible.
  6. Wear sunglasses or prescription glasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.
  7. Dry bedding and clothing indoors, either on racks or using a tumble dryer.