Thunderstorms cause havoc for Canberra's hay fever sufferers

hayfever pollen count and index

Symptoms for hay fever sufferers usually ease up by summer, but recent thunderstorms and warm days have released fungal spores into Canberra's skies and it's left many allergy sufferers reaching for the tissue box.

Canberra had a record breaking hay fever season, beating the previous longest string of days with high and extreme pollen levels recorded in 2009 when there were 12 in a row.

Australian National University Professor Simon Haberle, one of the creators of a mobile app tracking forecasting pollen levels in Canberra since October 1, said overall Canberra had more "extreme" days where there are 100 or more pollen grains per cubic metre of air than ever before.

 hayfever pollen count canberra

Rye grass, the chief offender for allergy sufferers, was the most common pollen this season, but Paterson's curse pollen and in more recent weeks alternaria fungal spores were common occurrences in the Canberra air.

Professor Haberle said the recent wet weather followed by warm days had caused the fungal spores, "known to be quite a significant allergenic spore", to grow on grass stems.

"We are seeing in our counts that [the spores] have been quite high in the last week or two," he said.

"If people are feeling that they're still suffering hay fever it may not be from the grass it may be that it's from the alternaria."

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