Sept. 22, 2015
Grass and other pollen
Although today feels like winter it's actually spring. And for roughly one in six of us, spring can mark the start of the allergy season and that means plenty of wheezing and sneezing ahead.
For the past week or so, hay fever sufferers have been telling us through the Melbourne pollen app about their symptoms - so what in the air could be triggereing these allergies?
Last Friday (September 18) the count was 0 grass pollen and 244 other pollen types. The grass pollen season won't start for a month or more, but that's a lot of other pollen. What is it and should you be paying attention to it?
Broadly speaking we classify pollen into grass, tree and weed, which means 'other pollen' includes all the tree and weed pollen. Last Friday the main tree pollen was cypress and the main weed pollen was plantain. The pollen of plantain (in no way related to the banana-like fruit of the same name) is allergenic and the levels we saw would certainly cause problems to people allergic to it. Plantain is also very common and most people will have it growing in their garden or near their house. So if you're suffering badly from hay fever at the moment, it's possible you have an allergy to plantain pollen. You can take precautions to avoid exposure to plantain pollen but check with an allergist to find out what you're really allergic to.