High pollen season is nothing to sneeze at in Australia’s ‘allergy capital’

Dominic Giannini 29 August 2021 34
Professor Simon Haberle

Professor Simon Haberle is predicting another bumper pollen season for Canberra. Photo: Jamie Kidston/ANU.

Australia’s “allergy capital” is about to get sneezier, with heightened pollen counts recorded in the lead up to what looks set to be a very congested spring.

Canberra has already had two extreme pollen events on 12 and 16 August and, while elevated levels are not uncommon at this time of year, extreme events are unusual.

It’s bad news for many in the ACT, with Canberrans having the highest rates of hay fever of any city in Australia, said leading pollen expert Professor Simon Haberle.

One in three people in the capital suffers from some form of allergic rhinitis, costing the local economy at least $170 million a year due to its impact on health and productivity.

The extreme levels this week were likely caused by the wet winter and indicate a “bumper year for airborne pollen in and around the ACT”, Professor Haberle said.

“A combination of the warming weather, a wet winter with high soil moisture and windy days are all signs that are pointing to another record pollen season.”

The good news is Canberrans have a slight reprieve over the next week and ahead of spring, with the grass pollen forecast expected to remain low until at least next Tuesday (23 August), according to the pollen monitoring website Canberra Pollen.

The site, and its app, is run by Professor Haberle with the support of the ANU.


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Professor Haberle, who also operates under the moniker That Pollen Guy on social media, wants to “clear the air” for allergy sufferers by mapping and tracking pollen risks across Canberra.

The maps will take garden plants and street plants into consideration to map which parts of Canberra may be worse for allergy sufferers.

Rye grass with landscape of Canberra in background.

Canberra is about to go from one bad pollen season to another. Photo: Canberra Pollen Twitter.

Dr Simon Connor, who is developing the maps alongside Professor Haberle, said Canberra’s leafy inner suburbs were the worst for tree pollen allergies, while the outer suburbs were more exposed to grass pollen allergies.

The new alerts follow on from the ACT’s longest and strongest ever pollen season, which only ended back in March.

It also coincides with magpie season, with most swoops occurring between August and October, and as late as December.

And there’s no app for that.

More information about pollen counts in the region, including weekly forecasts and past reports, can be found on the Canberra Pollen website.


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34 Responses to High pollen season is nothing to sneeze at in Australia’s ‘allergy capital’
Glenn Hayman Glenn Hayman 1:13 pm 24 Aug 21

Hayley Louise Hayman this is excellent news.

    Hayley Louise Hayman Hayley Louise Hayman 1:29 pm 24 Aug 21

    Glenn Hayman this is wonderful and I’m not at all upset by this.

Vincent Mckie Vincent Mckie 1:41 pm 22 Aug 21

Brendan McKie As much as I miss you at least you won't cop this.....

Samantha Hughes Samantha Hughes 12:57 pm 22 Aug 21

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Cameron Varley Cameron Varley 10:17 am 22 Aug 21

Jeffrey Varley lucky you live in googong

Maverick John Maverick John 8:28 am 22 Aug 21

Christina Phengrasmy HERE WE GOOOOOOOO

Sarah Young Sarah Young 11:44 pm 21 Aug 21

Jeez, I knew it! I’m already feeling it 😒

Linda Gillespie Linda Gillespie 11:19 pm 21 Aug 21

Oh gooody 😷😩

Fran Ballard Fran Ballard 9:08 pm 21 Aug 21

Hey Riot Act, there IS magpie swooping tracking at magpiealert.com

Tim Pike Tim Pike 8:40 pm 21 Aug 21

Ryan Kay this might explain it

Kerri Hallas Kerri Hallas 8:32 pm 21 Aug 21

As long as it’s not a long bushfire season I will happily sneeze all through it!

Nicole McGuire Nicole McGuire 8:13 pm 21 Aug 21

Kirsten Musgrove Gay McGuire get the Dymista on script

Shelley Lloyd Shelley Lloyd 7:31 pm 21 Aug 21

Yep mine kicked off today 😩

George Watling George Watling 7:25 pm 21 Aug 21

Dont worry urban intensification will cure our allergies. Canberra's government is working hard to fill in all our greens spaces with as much concrete as they can handle. There wont be a blade of grass or flowering plant left for us to be allergic to. 😆🥳

Carol Kemmett Carol Kemmett 7:18 pm 21 Aug 21

Yes, I’m already on antihistamines .

Henry Ha Henry Ha 6:56 pm 21 Aug 21

James Kyburz bring on the honey!

    James Kyburz James Kyburz 7:11 pm 21 Aug 21

    Henry Ha 100% mate, how's yours going? I'll be checking my bees tomorrow 😉

    Henry Ha Henry Ha 8:25 pm 21 Aug 21

    James Kyburz I’m on thin ice I reckon, but haven’t been sneezing since the tub guy gave me 👌

Natalie Horyna Natalie Horyna 6:47 pm 21 Aug 21

Holly Audsley oh man! It’s only going to get worse!

Joshua Peter Joshua Peter 6:46 pm 21 Aug 21

Shelley Li good time to leave. Hetty Ronald welcome

    Shelley Li Shelley Li 6:53 pm 21 Aug 21

    Joshua Peter you and Henry have lots to look forward to 🥲

Shane Phoenix Shane Phoenix 6:46 pm 21 Aug 21

Great another season of been looked at like a lepper in public.

Veronica Giddings Veronica Giddings 6:44 pm 21 Aug 21

David Holmes we need to move. Now.

Louise Anne Louise Anne 6:41 pm 21 Aug 21

John it’s that time again

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