November is the worst month for hayfever

File photo
File photo

Hayfever symptoms are expected to get worse during November.

Rain during the winter and spring months has encouraged plants and grass to grow resulting in increased pollen across the region.

University of Melbourne assoicate professor Ed Newbigin runs the School of Bioscience and conducts the daily pollen count in Melbourne.

He also runs www.melbournepollen.com.au, which provides a daily pollen count and seven-day forecast.

Prof Newbigin said while it is hard to gauge a pollen count in Bendigo, pollen in Melbourne usually comes in from western Victoria.

“Through our (phone) app, people can gauge how they are feeling on the day and we look at how closely it relates to the (Melbourne) pollen count),” he said.

“Usually about 50km out from the city still tracks along with our pollen count.”

The pollen count is measured on average by counting the amount pollen and grass grains from a cubic metre air is sampled with a Burkard Volumetric Air Sampler over a 24-hour period.

In Melbourne last season there were three high pollen days. So far this year there have been three high count days and two extreme days since October 1.

“That's a bad year. If we look back to the wet years from 2010 to 2012, with the big La Nina events, we were getting up around the 20s for high and extreme days,” Prof Newbigin said. 

“We are forecasting to have a year similar to years with  more than 20 high or extreme days. 

“In rural Victoria, pasture grass on the outskirts of city. Melbourne’s nearest pasture grass is about 15km away, so you’ve got them less than a kilometre away from the built up areas.” 

Prof Newbigin said hayfever season was expected to tail off by Christmas.

“November is usually the worst month but by Christmas, grasses have dried off, farmers have harvested and pollen season is well and truly over,” he said.

“But if there is more rainfall between now and Christmas it could extend season.”

UFS Pharmacies manager Susan Randall said more customers had come searching for remedies to hayfever than last year.

“We have had customers who haven’t had hayfever since their childhood,” she said.

“The likely reason is the change in weather with increased rainfall experienced in Bendigo this year”.

“Some people find they experience hayfever in Bendigo but may have no symptoms at all when they go on holiday.”

Antihistamine tablets are the most popular solution but MrsRandall said people who suffer from hayfever more than three times a week should consider a nasal spray.

“Preventative nasal sprays are the most effective option and treat multiple symptoms, while antihistamine tablets solelyinhibit the effects of histamine,” Mrs Randall said.

“Some people also opt for natural options such as probiotics and herbal tablets.”