A pollen calendar is a handy tool for anyone with seasonal allergies. It tracks when common allergens – such as pohutukawa, ryegrass, and nettle – are in season throughout the year.

Allergy New Zealand has an excellent annual pollen calendar for New Zealand species.

To use a pollen calendar, all you need to know is which species trigger your allergies. If you’re unsure, see your GP to discuss the possibility of allergy testing.

Benefits of a pollen calendar

Once you know what you’re allergic to, a pollen calendar can let you know when to expect specific allergens in the air – giving you a chance to prepare.

A pollen calendar might also stop you from wondering whether you’re suffering from a cold or allergy, so you can seek appropriate treatment.

And finally, a pollen calendar can remind you to stay away from allergens and problem plants during certain times of the year.

Coping during allergy season

Here are some steps to help make your allergy season as comfortable as possible.

Dry your clothes inside

Consider using an indoor drying rack or electric dryer to minimise the risk of pollen getting into your clothes and linens. Pay particular attention to keeping pollen away from your pillowcases.

Close your windows

Both at home and in the car, close your windows and rely on air conditioning instead.

Outsource lawn mowing

If you have a lawn, treat yourself to a professional mowing service, or see if a friend or family member can help for the season. At the very least, invest in a face mask if you need to mow the lawns yourself, and try to mow them as frequently as possible to prevent flowering.

Stay inside before 10 am

Plants are early risers – pollen is generally emitted early in the morning until roughly 10 am. If possible, stay indoors for the morning. Make the most of spring’s longer daylight hours and plan a stroll for the evening, instead.

Watch out for wind

Windy days can be especially difficult as pollen is picked up and whipped around.
If you can’t stay inside, wearing a mask might help.

Keep an eye on Metservice

Metservice publishes a daily pollen forecast for select New Zealand cities and towns every year from October to April. This will tell you the expected pollen levels, and the types of pollen in the air, so you’ll know what to expect from each day.

Consider preventative treatment

If you know you’re coming into your allergy season, why suffer if you don’t have to? Ask your pharmacist about preventative allergy treatments, such as Cromo-Fresh (eye drops). Also, make sure you have plenty of antihistamines on-hand.

Check a pollen calendar when you travel

Finally, don’t forget to check the pollen calendar for your destination when you head to other parts of New Zealand or overseas.

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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