New app offers relief for hay fever sufferers

25 September 2014

Hay fever and asthma sufferers in Canberra will soon be able to receive daily counts and forecasts of pollen levels thanks to a free app released by ANU researchers.

Project leader Professor Simon Haberle says Canberra is a hot-spot for allergy-causing pollen, with up to one-in-five Canberrans affected.

“Canberra pollen sufferers are in for a tough time this year, with extreme pollen counts predicted for the late October and early November period,” he said.

“This has a significant impact on performance for people at work and children at school.”

High pollen counts can cause strong hay fever reactions such as runny nose and irritable eyes and throat.

The Canberra Pollen app allows allergy sufferers to take preventative measures during times of high exposure.

The app reports measures of pollen in the air and gives daily alerts and six-day forecasts during peak allergy season starting 1 October though to the end of December.

The app is available free on iPhone and Android and counts can be followed on Twitter @CanberraPollen and Facebook accounts.

For a video on the new app, click here.

Professor Haberle says the project will also be used to track changes in airborne pollen in the future research.

“We are interested in long term trends, such as how climate change and land use change might impact upon pollen in the atmosphere,” he said.

The project is managed by the ANU Department of Archaeology and Natural History, where one of the largest collections of pollen reference material is held anywhere in the world.

Read more at www.canberrapollen.com.au.