Hay Fever in Australia

There are an estimated 9 million hay fever sufferers in Australia.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Perth, Darwin or Adelaide: Hay Fever and allergies hit Aussies Hard in the summer.

If your nose starts itching every time you go close to a flower in summer, you probably are allergic to pollen and will fall prey to hay fever. It attacks during the spring and summer months when trees, flowers and grass start releasing pollen into the air.

The symptoms are easy enough to identify: Inflamed eyes, runny nose, fever, headache, blocked sinus…

Treatments usually include antihistamine tablets, nose sprays or, in the very worst cases, steroids. For extended hay fever symptoms, one can often undergo allergen treatment as well.

In Australia, hay fever hits most hard during spring and summer.  The worst hit regions in the whole country would be the south, and especially the south-eastern regions. This means that one third of Australia falls prey to hay fever. If you are allergic to pollen, then avoid Melbourne and Canberra like the plague during spring time. These two cities are hubs of pollen allergy. Melbourne can be difficult for hay fever sufferers because of the grass pollen getting blown into the city from the Northern grasslands. The winds in spring bring it. However, it is very difficult to determine which places are the worst hits since it differs from person to person. For some people, Brisbane has been a worse place to be in, as compared to Melbourne.

Interestingly, most of the pollen does not come from any native Australian plants, but rather from the exotic grass which are imported into the country. These can be found all over. Some of the common culprits include perennial ryegrass and couch or Bermuda grass.  One tree that produces some really potent pollen is the White Cypress Murray Pine. It grows all over the western mountains to the plains in the east. This tree flowers around late July.

One of the ways to avoid getting exposed to pollen is by avoiding any trips to the countryside, mowing the lawn, etc. According to doctors, pollen release peaks during 7 to 9 am and 4 to 6 pm. This is the time you should stay away from grass.

The problem with Australia is that it suffers from a long hay fever season because of the variety of plants that pollinate at different times of the year. Some of the trees start as early as late winter and early spring. Grasses release pollen in spring and summer while weeds do so later. You can head for the east coast for some respite as pollen count is lower there. The Great Dividing Range protects it from the westerly winds which bring in pollen.

Try and stay away from grasses and pollen as much as you can. This means no picnics or day trips on hot windy days or rolling in the hay shed. Another way of preventing pollen from entering the nose and wreaking havoc is by coating your nostrils with Vaseline. Also, wear sunglasses during the day if you are out and about during thewarmer weather (especially if it is windy) to reduce eye exposure to allergens, pollen and dust.

Other Countries and Hay Fever

 

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The below comments were posted prior to the website being rebuilt in July 2017:

#9 kim 2013-11-10 19:01

Adelaide has a reputation as being the worst Capital city for Asthma sufferers. This spring (2013) has been horrible for me with hay fever prolific, especially now farmers to the North of Adelaide are harvesting (Nov). So, if you suffer from Asthma or Hay Fever best to leave out Adelaide from late Aug to early Jan. Then it’s so hot it melts the pollens!

  #8 Paul Carter 2013-09-13 12:32

If you haven’t yet tried acupuncture and herbal medicine for hay fever, I highly recommend it. I work as an acupuncturist near Elwood in Melbourne and treat many people each season for hay fever. A combination of acupuncture, herbs and dietary/ lifestyle changes can see reduce the symptoms quickly

#7 Michael 2012-11-21 20:02

I am the worst hey fever sufferer I know (500+ heavy sneezes a day, look sick too, 2 litres + of snot expended daily!) I had ZERO hay fever when I lived in Cairns years with their springs / summers. I currently Live in the western suburbs of Melbourne and I am desperate. Was woken up at 4am this morning when the wind changed and started blowing in pollen. Just thought that would be worth mentioning as Cairns is my only option for a normal life if I can’t find a good filter or some injections.

  #6 Nosk 2012-10-25 20:59

Hi, my name is Wai and I live in Melb, and I’m like the human pollen detector, I get into sneezing fits which is equivalent of a energy burned on a 10km run. The only thing that worked for me long term is the Nosk Nasal filter, I was told prevention is the best solution, after a good clean diet. I have to admit I’m a reseller of this product now because it worked for me.

#5 Robert 2012-10-18 15:20

I live in Albury NSW and my hayfever this year is the worst in years, can anyone suggest a town or city in Australia where hayfever is low or non existent, preferably coastal, I need to get away from it for a while.

#4 Tony 2012-08-30 12:45

I suffer from grass pollen related hayfever – terrible in Victoria and the ACT.
I moved Darwin and virtually had no hay fever for two years – not a good place if you have allergies to mold which I don’t.
Back in Vic and starting to sneeze again.

#3 kevin lee 2011-08-22 13:19

I live 25 klms west of melbourne & last years 2010, was the worst for hayfever, because of all the huge growth of grass & folliage blowing all that pollen, I have suffered all my life, tryed most things available, but not much relief, some body must have have something to help, in seasonal time each year.

#2 2010-10-17 23:03

Well, after spending a week in Perth, Western Australia, I can say that it is much worse here for allergies and hay fever than Melbourne, Victoria. This is the first time this season that I have had hayfever symptoms. Admittedly the weather has been beautiful and sunny the whole time here in Perth and it has been a cold wet winter in Melbourne, and pollens and allergens will always present more issues to hay fever sufferers when the weather is warmer.

#1 2010-10-05 07:27

Don’t come to Darwin during the spring (or Build-up as we call it). The Cheesewoods are in flower and are one of the few native plants that DOES produce allergens… nasty nasty nasty… anyone who suffers hayfever, cops it at this time of year!