Did you know that grass pollen is a common cause of hay fever in New Zealand?

Most people think flowers are to blame, but grass pollen is just as sneeze-inducing.

Here are some common grass types that could be causing your seasonal allergies.

1. Ryegrass

Ryegrass is a troublesome source of pollen for many hay fever sufferers. Pollen from
ryegrass is abundant, tiny, and light, so it can travel a long way on the wind and affect
people several kilometres away. Ryegrass typically blooms from November to March,
although the dates vary depending on your location in New Zealand.

2. Tall Fescue

Tall Fescue is another common irritant in New Zealand. As the name suggests, this species can grow quite high – often to over a metre. Tall Fescue is wind-pollinated and tends to grow in damp areas. If you have Tall Fescue in your garden, you can minimise the pollen by mowing lawns regularly to trim the grass before it has a chance to flower.

3. Timothy

Those who react to pollen should also keep an eye out for Timothy, which is one
of the world’s most common grasses and is often used as a hay and pasture grass.
Timothy has a fairly short season, causing issues from December to February.

4. Cocksfoot

Another common species in New Zealand is Cocksfoot, which is grown widely throughout the world. This is another species often used for hay and animal forage, and it will grow in the wild in shady areas. Cocksfoot may cause problems for those allergic to pollen throughout November, December, and January.

5. Meadow Foxtail

Meadow Foxtail is easily spotted with its tall brush-like flower that’s pinkish-purple in colour. For many New Zealand hay fever sufferers, this species is often the first to cause a sniffly nose and itchy eyes, as it blooms in September – much sooner
than other New Zealand allergenic grasses – and continues to flower
until the end of January.

Other grass types to watch out for

Other common grass types in New Zealand include; Yorkshire Fog, Prairie Grass, Dogstail, Crested Dogstail, Browntop, and Sweet Vernal. Like those mentioned above, the majority are all introduced species, and will all cause the most issues around December and January.

Even if you can’t identify each type of grass, or remember exactly when each one is in bloom, you can be prepared with medications to help you manage the symptoms of hay fever. For example, Cromo-Fresh is a preservative-free eye drop which can be used preemptively during allergy season. Chat to your pharmacist about which options may be best for you.

Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

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