If you are suffering from a bad case of the sniffles and sneezes, you are not alone – it’s hay fever season and it could last for up to three months. Massey University plant biologist, Associate Professor David Fountain said that a large number of people were starting to react to early grasses realizing their pollen. These pollen levels will only intensify over time as native trees such as the oak, walnut, poplar and birch all slowly start to release their pollen. Plants such as the meadow foxtail also contribute, as their pollen grain is like a small cloud that can release around 10-20 microns.
While it depends on the individual’s sensitivities, trees are likely to provoke the greatest reaction as they have more proteins on the surface that generate hay fever. While hay fever is not a major disease and is commonly self-treated, the nuisance it generates will be felt by a growing number of people as we head into the hot summer months.