What are pollen and grass allergies?
When we talk about hayfever, most people think about the uncontrollable sneezing that comes with the start of spring. While hayfever – or allergic rhinitis in medical terms – can be caused by different environmental allergens and can occur at any time of year, many people only experience their hayfever symptoms at certain times of year. This is because pollen from trees, weeds, and grasses are key allergens that trigger hayfever and typically only cause trouble during the time of year when these plants produce pollen.
Simply put, pollen allergy occurs when someone is sensitive to pollen and experiences an immune response that triggers hayfever symptoms. Similarly, grass allergy occurs when someone experiences that same allergic reaction when exposed to pollens from grass.
What causes pollen and grass allergies?
Trees, weeds, and grasses all produce tiny pollen grains that the plants use to reproduce. Many plants rely on wind to spread the pollen around, and it’s these pollen grains in the air that cause most of the trouble for people with hayfever. When people with pollen or grass allergies inhale pollen grains, their body launches into its immune response – releasing histamine that causes inflammation and results in hayfever symptoms.
Time of year – or the season – is a key factor driving pollen and grass allergies. But when your seasonal allergies actually occur can be different depending on where you live in Australia (or other places in the world!). This is because location affects the type of plants that grow in the area, when exactly these plants produce their pollen, and how windy it gets. In Australia, trees usually produce pollen in late winter and early spring, but some do produce pollen all year round. Most grasses and weeds that cause allergies produce pollen in late spring and summer.
Pollen and grass allergy symptoms
Seasonal allergy symptoms occur when the body’s immune system reacts to the inhaled pollen grains – producing histamine that causes inflammation inside the nose as well as other reactions. Grass and pollen allergy symptoms include an itchy nose and throat, runny or blocked nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes.
Pollen and grass allergy management
The key to managing pollen and grass allergies is to avoid or reduce your exposure as much as possible. Some ways you can limit your exposure to tree and grass pollen include:
- Staying inside until lunchtime, particularly on windy days and during the pollen season
- Keep windows closed at home and in the car
- Plan holidays outside of the pollen season or at the beach where pollen is less of a problem
- Avoid mowing grass or being outside when grass is mowed
- Wear sunglasses or a mask when outside and shower when arriving home to wash off any pollen
- Remove or replace plants around your house that can trigger your pollen or grass allergy symptoms, especially ones that grow near bedroom windows
Pollen and grass allergy treatment
Of course, completely avoiding pollen and grass all the time is just about impossible! So if you’re looking for grass or pollen allergy treatment, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about hayfever medications that can help relieve your symptoms.
Antihistamines are a hayfever medicine that work quickly to help control and relieve symptoms of itching and sneezing. Other types of hayfever medications that can help relieve symptoms of pollen and grass allergies include corticosteroid nasal sprays and decongestants.
If you’re looking for a natural remedy to help relieve itching and irritation in your nose and throat, consider using salt water to rinse out the inside of your nose – this is often called saline wash or saline irrigation.
When pollen or grass allergies are getting in your way, try DEMAZIN Allergy + Hayfever Relief. It contains the antihistamine loratadine to offer rapid, non-drowsy relief from allergy symptoms including sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and runny nose for up to 24 hours.
Frequently asked questions about pollen and grass allergy
When inhaled from the air, pollen grains from trees, weeds, and grasses can trigger an immune response that results in inflammation inside your nose and other hayfever symptoms – itchy nose and throat, sneezing, runny or blocked nose, and itchy, watery, red eyes. The amount and type of pollen in the air depend on the time of year (seasons) and where in Australia you live.
While pollen and grass allergies can’t be cured, symptoms may only occur during times of the year when pollen is produced. During pollen season, avoiding or limiting your exposure can help reduce hayfever symptoms, and there are different types of hayfever medicine available to help control and relieve symptoms.
Antihistamines are a type of hayfever medication that work quickly to help relieve symptoms of pollen and grass allergies, and when taken when needed during pollen season, can help control pollen allergy symptoms.
Tips for reducing your exposure to pollen and grasses include staying inside until lunchtime during pollen season or on windy days, staying away from mowing and cut grass, closing windows at home and in the car, avoiding going places when or where pollen counts are high, and wearing sunglasses when going outside.