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Grass Pollen in abundance

Grass Pollen in abundance

If you're suffering itchy eyes, runny noses and sneezing a lot, you're in good company, as pollen directly affects about 20% of the population through allergy (hayfever) and/or asthma.

The pollen season is in full swing at the moment and is especially bad at this time of the year as pollen from grasses is released.

The windy conditions the country has experienced recently has helped to spread the pollen wide and far. Pollen is very mobile in the air and travels long distances when carried along in the wind. Grass sensitive people will be well aware of the invisible dust-like pollen as their itchy watering eyes and streaming noses react to the proteins leaked by the tiny grains.

The grass season generally rises to peak about Christmas and then usually declines rapidly in the early New Year as the grasses go to seed.

Overseas, efforts are well advanced to genetically modify grass pollen to remove the genes which specify the allergy-causing proteins.

Dr David Fountain, a research scientist in the field of airborne pollens based in Massey University, and MetService work together to provide pollen forecasts for New Zealand. By using daily weather forecasts issued by MetService in combination with Dr Fountain's knowledge of airborne pollens, a daily pollen forecast is created.

You can check the latest pollen forecast for your region by going to MetService's website http://www.metservice.co.nz The pollen forecasts are updated each day and are available for most centres around New Zealand.

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