Perth has one of the highest Spring/Summer pollen counts in the world.
About 20% of Perth's population suffers with allergic rhinitis, which is more commonly known as hay fever.
And while people usually start experiencing symptoms associated with hay fever in Spring, the 2014 season appears to have arrived early.
Many pharmacies are reporting a higher number of requests than usual in August for allergy medications.
Symptoms of Hay Fever
Hay fever symptoms include red, watery or itchy eyes, runny or itchy nose, itchy skin and nasal congestion.
For some sufferers, the effects of hay fever can be debilitating, to the point where it can affect quality of life, sleep and concentration. Asthma sufferers are believed to be particularly susceptible.
Perth's Weather to Blame
The reason for Perth's prolific pollen is largely due to the enormous size of the Wheatbelt to our east and the prevailing easterly breezes. Perth's unseasonably warm and dry August weather has also played a part in creating ideal pollen conditions.
Pollen levels in the atmosphere are highest:
- on hot days
- when a dry wind is blowing
- following light rain overnight or in the early morning
The Bureau of Meteorology's outlook for the next few months is for the warm weather to continue.
Mild cases of hay fever can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. For more serious cases, there are low dose steroid nose sprays that may help to control symptoms. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Check out Perth's Pollen Forecast
Weatherzone produces a four-day Pollen Forecast for Perth and other Australian capital cities, which measures the potential for pollen to trigger allergic reactions. It gives a rating from low to extreme, with the aim of helping you to be prepared. Staying inside is commonly advised on hot and windy days, although it's not always practical.