Hayfever Sufferers Take Note, The Week Ahead Is Something To Be Sneezed At
Hayfever sufferers are being warned to prepare medication and stay indoors, as pollen counts nationwide are set to hit high levels in coming days.
The pollen forecasts for Adelaide and Perth predict very high levels on Thursday, according to Weatherzone, which means "most sufferers of pollen allergies will experience symptoms".
Sydney will also have high pollen days all week; Canberra on Monday and Tuesday; and Hobart and Melbourne on Monday.
Elsewhere around the country, Brisbane and Perth will both have three consecutive days of high pollen counts between Monday and Wednesday, which Weatherzone said will mean "some sufferers of pollen allergies will experience symptoms... but these are unlikely to be severe."
Josh Holt, weather presenter with 10 News First, said pollen counts were usually especially high during drier parts of the year, as warm winds picked up pollen from inland areas and carried it to the populated east coast areas.
"There's lots of pollen in the atmosphere when it's very dry weather and dry heat. You've got inland winds coming from central and inland Australia, pushing the air toward busy areas," he told 10 daily.
"When that happens, pollen is in the air. The pollen count is high with prolonged hot and dry weather, but in periods of rain, you see less because the damp weather means spores don't get airborne. When it's wet, it keeps the pollen on the ground, but hot gusty winds drive pollen towards the cities from the country."
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that in 2014-15 nearly 4.5 million people -- that's almost 20 percent of the population -- suffered from allergic rhinitis, also known as hayfever, which can be triggered by a variety of factors including dust, animal fur or hair, fungal spores, or pollen.
Michele Goldman, CEO of Asthma Australia, said pollen can also be a trigger for asthma as well as hayfever, but said the two conditions needed different treatment.
"For asthma, preventative medications work cumulatively, so taking medication sporadically won't work as well if you're only taking it when you feel bad," she told 10 daily.
"If pollen is your trigger for asthma, be especially diligent and take medication daily, to minimise the chance of and lessen the severity of symptoms."
For hayfever, she said anti-histamine or other medication can work faster, and doesn't need to be taken as often.
"If you're feeling good, you might not need to take the medication daily," Goldman said.
"Another way to limit impacts is to prevent exposure in the first place. If pollen counts are high, just try to stay indoors. Definitely avoid exercising outdoors, and keep your windows closed."
She also said to try and avoid hanging washing outside on high pollen days, as spores could become caught in clothes or sheets.
Professor Janet Davies, head of the allergy research group at Queensland University of Technology and principal investigator of the Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership, told 10 daily that appropriate medication was easily obtainable.
"If you know in advance it will be a high pollen day, we recommend people use preventative medication. With hayfever, you can readily get over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal steroids to prevent inflammation," she said.
"You can limit your exposure by staying inside with the windows closer. If you're experiencing a tight chest or any symptoms around your lungs or chest, see a GP."
Davies and Goldman both said people with severe symptoms should see their doctor or an allergy specialist to develop a treatment plan.
For more information, people can check out the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) website, contact Asthma Australia by phoning 1800 ASTHMA, or check out pollen count services like AusPollen.