Pollen time spurs advice for allergy sufferers

TRICKY TIME: Pollen rolls through Mapua.
TRICKY TIME: Pollen rolls through Mapua.

As the fine yellow mist that marks the annual pine pollen season descends on parked cars and gutters, health officials are advising allergy sufferers to arm themselves with treatments and preventives.

Pine trees are one of the most prolific producers of pollen. Dustings of the fine yellow pollen are appearing near pine plantations throughout the region, but it can also be carried long distances by the wind.

Waikanae Amcal Pharmacy pharmacist James Westbury said that there had been high sheddings of pine pollen, which had affected sufferers of hayfever and asthma.

She advised asthmatics to see their GPs, or increase their doses of steroid and bronchodilator inhalers, if they were concerned about their breathing.

There were a range of options for nasal congestion, including antihistimines and nasal sprays, some of which could be bought over the counter, he said.

Stephen Palmer, medical officer of health for Regional Public Health, said it was important sufferers sought effective allergy treatments that were available through their GPs, including preventive steroids.

He also suggested allergy sufferers could have tests to determine exactly which pollens they were reacting to.

Grass pollens are expected to add to allergy sufferers' woes, usually starting about mid to late September, though they can come earlier if the weather is mild.

Pinus radiata traditionally shed from late July to August. On windy days, the pollen can be seen as clouds of yellow dust blowing from trees and settling on waterways, parked cars and roadsides.

The Dominion Post