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  • Study predicts Aust pollen high and lows

    Author: AAP

Brisbane's asthma and hayfever sufferers can expect to sneeze and cough more than their southern city counterparts.

A study that tracked shifts in pollen seasonality, biodiversity and allergy impact has found Brisbane has multiple summer-autumn peaks of hyper allergenic grass pollen.

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The study also found Sydney and Canberra have a major spring and minor summer pollen peak, while Melbourne has a single major spring peak.

The findings came out of a four-year study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, which involved simultaneous monitoring of daily airborne grass and other pollen concentrations in the four eastern Australian cities by the AusPollen Partnership.

Janet Davies, who leads QUT's Allergy Research Group and the AusPollen Partnership, said the aim was to standardise pollen monitoring and examine broadscale biogeographical and meteorological factors that influence yearly variations.

"Monitoring of airborne pollen in a consistent way is essential for environmental health messaging as well as the capacity to model and verify forecasts of airborne pollen at daily and seasonal timescales," Professor Davies said.

She said Australia had the world's fourth-highest burden of asthma and seventh-highest frequency of allergic rhino conjunctivitis (AR).

"Despite the high burden of allergy, Australia has been, until recently, one of the few developed countries without a unified national program to measure and disseminate pollen information," she said.

Prof Davies said a key motivation for the AusPollen Partnership was the data could enable evaluation and comparison of the levels of local grass pollen exposure at which people with an allergy will have symptoms in their eyes, nose and lungs, in the different regions of Australia.


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