Sneezing woman

Which pollens cause hay fever?

Pollen from grasses, weeds or trees can trigger symptoms of allergic rhinitis (also known as “hay fever”) and other respiratory allergies. Pollen seasons can last for many months and exposure isn’t always easy to avoid, no matter where you might live. Some people have allergies to winter pollen whilst others may have spring allergies. An unfortunate number of people may even experience both, in winter and spring and to make matters worse, there are some plant species pollinate at any time of the year! This can make avoiding pollen allergens very tricky for some!

Pollination times vary with the type of plant and where its located. Trees pollinate in late winter and early spring. Grasses and weeds flower from August through to May. If you’re further away from the coast, where there are no natural barriers to wind dispersal, grass pollen can be much higher.


Pollen numbers are lower on the east coast where the prevailing winds come from the sea and where there is protection from westerly winds by the Great Dividing Range.


On the Victorian south coast pollen numbers are high because the prevailing winds from the north carry pollen from the northerly grasslands.


In South Australia and Western Australia, pollen concentrations can vary according to the prevailing winds. Allergenic grasses in the southern part of Australia are mostly Northern hemisphere grasses, with the main flowering period from October to December.


Subtropical grasses flower on the northern coast and Queensland (around Brisbane region) from around November until the end of April, with major peaks expected from January on.

Interestingly, wattle trees are often blamed for early spring symptoms but according to ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) allergy tests i.e. skin prick tests, rarely confirm that is the case. There are many species of Casuarina or Australian Oak trees, which produce pollen throughout the year and may cause hay fever symptoms at any time of the year.


So if you’re prone to hay fever, live in a high pollen area or are travelling to an area where you suspect pollen concentrations could be higher, there are some precautions you can take:

1) Check out daily reading of grass pollen with a six-day forecast e.g. and

2) Avoid being outside or hanging out washing especially during or after thunderstorms, particularly when pollen counts are high.

3) Keep home and car windows closed.

4) Take your hay fever medication If you have been recommended an intranasal corticosteroid spray, you should take this before the season (that affects you most) and throughout. An intranasal antihistamine spray like Eze Allergy can be used when required. Ask your Pharmacist or Doctor for more details.

5) Reduce pollen load in your nose by washing pollen particles out daily during the season/s.  A nasal and sinus irrigation (sinus wash) is probably one of the most effective ways you can do this. Ask your Pharmacist for Flo Sinus Care or Flo Saline Plus

6) Wash your face after being out and about where you may have been exposed to pollen, or better still grab a shower!

Ask your Doctor or Pharmacist about what else can be done to reduce and manage hay fever symptoms.