Spring Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is a common and debilitating disease affecting around 1 in 5 people in Australia and New Zealand. Despite its common name, it is not caused by hay and does not result in fever. Even though it was known that pollen rather than hay was the cause as far back as the early 1800's, the term hay fever stuck. Pollen from grasses, weeds or trees, released in spring, can trigger symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. It is that time of year.

hay fever

Symptoms are caused by the body's immune response to inhaled pollen, resulting in chronic inflammation of the eyes and nasal passages. People with allergic rhinitis often suffer from fatigue due to poor quality sleep. It can impair learning and performance in children, result in more frequent absenteeism in adults and reduced productivity, and therefore can cause considerable impairment to quality of life.

Around 8 in 10 people with asthma have allergic rhinitis, and this can make asthma more difficult to control.

To help people who suffer from pollen induced allergic rhinitis, a project known as the Australian Pollen Allergen Partnership was established to provide a standardised, readily accessible and reliable pollen count network to provide current local information to patients and doctors for the major Australian cities.

This project is supported by a grant from the Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia. See www.allergyimmunology.org.au/projects.


For more information on allergic rhinitis visit www.allergy.org.au and search allergic rhinitis.

Content updated 11 November 2015 

©2023 Allergy and Immunology Foundation of Australasia