The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting heavy rainfall in October which can lead to above-average grass growth and increased levels of ryegrass pollen, a major allergic pollen type in Victoria.
Research shows that pollen can trigger asthma as well as hay fever symptoms; around 1 in 4 people with hay fever also have asthma. Those who suffer from hay fever due to grass pollen allergy can also exhibit symptoms such as wheezing or chest tightness in the spring and summer seasons. This is likely to be asthma triggered by grass pollen allergy, also known as Thunderstorm Asthma.
People at risk of asthma, with a history of asthma and those prone to seasonal hay fever, must practice caution.
National Asthma Council Australia director Professor Peter Wark stated in a press release on 7 October 2021: “People with asthma who live in a region with seasonal high grass pollen levels, should remember to take their inhaled corticosteroid ‘preventer’ medicine as prescribed by their doctor. If they are using anti-inflammatory reliever therapy, they should take their inhaler as needed. These steps offer the best protection from worsening asthma.”
“If you have hay fever, the regular use of a nasal corticosteroid spray every day, at least during pollen season is the best treatment to control allergy symptoms.”
“Hay fever can cause upper and lower airway inflammation and result in itchy watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, but even more concerning, hay fever can lead to an increased risk of serious asthma flare-ups.”
Professor Wark also advised asthma or hay fever sufferers to keep track of grass pollen counts in their area during spring and early summer.
“Avoid exposure to outdoor air when a thunderstorm is approaching, especially during wind gusts just before the rain front hits. If you can stay indoors with your windows closed and the air conditioner off or on recirculation mode, or if driving, shut your car windows and only use recirculating air,” he said.
If you or someone you know falls in the at-risk group, you should follow your treatment plan or speak to a GP or pharmacist to get a plan if you don’t already have one.
Our pharmacists – Jenny, Danica, Sylvia, Jill or Mary – are always available to provide help and guidance about medications. Ring us on (03) 9509 7912 or visit us at 153 Burke Rd, Glen Iris, VIC 3146.