Why are allergies caused?
Pollen is the main cause of hayfever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Flowering plants produce small amounts of pollen which can be spread by birds, bees and other insects. Pollen is also produced by the grass and blows in the wind so can impact people far away who can’t even see the plant itself.
“The true cause of our allergies is mostly from wind-pollinated grasses and trees, and the one that may be causing your head to feel like it is going to explode, may be thousands of kilometres away from your home,” explained Jimmy the director of horticulture at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
Imported plants and grasses are the biggest cause of allergies.
Common hay fever allergy symptoms include:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Coughing and wheezing
- Hives or a rash
- Runny nose
- Asthma flare up
How to avoid a flare up
Whilst there are no real simple natural cures you can change a couple of practices:
- Avoid going outdoors in windy conditions, keep up to date on the pollen count in your area
- Avoid being outside when the grass is being mown
- Wear sunglasses and carry tissues
- Keep windows closed on windy days
- Use recirculating air in your car
- Remove allergy-triggering plants from your home
Here are some of our tips for beating hay fever naturally. If you have severe allergies, seek medical advice to help relieve your symptoms.
Without further ado, here is our list of the worst plants for allergies.
1. Mango Tree
Ideal climate: tropical areas
One of Australia’s favourite fruits is, unfortunately, one of the worst culprits.
2. Plane trees
Ideal climate: everywhere in Australia
Common varieties: London plane
Rather than flowers plane trees produce a “fuzz” on their leaves and stems which becomes airborne to pollinate other trees but often causes an itchy rash.
3. Rye Grass
Ideal climate: everywhere!
Is mowing almost a guaranteed way to set off your allergies? Rye grass is a common culprit but making the switch to an Australian grass is a great option as they are drought-tolerant, slow-growing and have less pollen.
Ideal climate: New South Wales
Pellitory (Parietaria judaica) or asthma weed is one of the worst weeds for asthma sufferers. It flourishes in warm temperatures and you can find it growing everywhere from the cracks of pavement to rocks and abandoned lots. The council are vigilantly controlling its spread but it is a huge task.
Ideal climate: All of Australia
One of our national icons, unfortunately, is an allergy culprit. The pollen from these red brush-like flowers is easily blown in the wind.
6. Australian pine
Ideal climate: coastal regions
Both pine nuts and pine trees are common allergens. Pine pollen is produced in spring and can trigger the same people who are allergic to grass pollen.
Ideal climate: moderate climates
Common Varieties: Night Blooming Jasmine
This beautifully scented vine blooms in springtime, but as any allergy suffers know it is absolutely everywhere!
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