Pollen is a fine substance released by seed plants in spores or grains. It’s often picked up and spread by the wind, causing hayfever (seasonal allergic rhinitis). While the spread of pollen is essential for the reproduction of plants, it can cause great discomfort for those whose allergies are triggered by the pollination process.
Knowing which types of pollen are triggers for your allergies will help manage and minimise the impact on your comfort, daily activities, and lifestyle.
What can trigger a pollen allergy?
A trigger is something that begins an immune response or allergic reaction in the body. If you have a pollen allergy, triggers should be avoided to lessen the chance of a reaction. Triggers for pollen allergies include:
- Mowing the lawn - have your lawn mowed by somebody else and stay inside to reduce unnecessary exposure to grasses and pollen. Alternatively, wear a mask and medicate yourself before mowing
- Windy days, warm weather and thunderstorms - stay indoors when the pollen count is high or bushfire smoke is present in the air
- Mould growth and dust in the home - refer to these handy cleaning hints
Which types of pollen can trigger hayfever?
Plant pollen is a well known trigger for seasonal allergic rhinitis (hayfever) and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Up to four in five people with asthma have allergies like hayfever. For these people, it’s helpful to know which pollen is the cause of their symptoms, so they can be avoided where possible.
The main culprits are pollen from imported grasses, weeds and trees, which are wind pollinated. Australian native plants are usually not the culprit, although there are exceptions, such as cypress pine.
How to avoid pollen allergy triggers:
Common ways to avoid allergy triggers include:
- Keep low allergen garden (read low-allergen plant tips here)
- Avoid common allergic pollens
- Don't exercise outside when the pollen count is high
- Don't exercise near grass areas that have been recently mown
- Plan your holidays around your hayfever, for example avoiding the Australian bush in Spring and Summer
- Wear sunglasses or a mask to prevent dust or pollution entering the mouth and nose
- Consult your GP on allergy testing to identify specific allergens and treatments
All content and advice are provided on behalf of Sensitive Choice, an initiative of the National Asthma Council Australia, in partnership with Kleenex®. The advice provided in this material is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice. If you need medical advice, please consult your health care professional.
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