Thursday - September 01, 2016

New national pollen standards to help blow away hay fever for 1.8m Australians with asthma

Bayer is proud to support Asthma Week 2016

 MEDIA RELEASE

New national pollen standards to help blow away hay fever for 1.8m Australians with asthma

 

MELBOURNE: A new project that could provide potentially life-saving information to 1.8 million Australians who experience both asthma and hay fever is being launched on 1 September. Standardised pollen monitoring and reporting will allow Australians to better understand their risk of hay fever, which is a known trigger of asthma attacks.

 

Australia has one of the world’s highest burdens of pollen related disease but until now the availability of pollen data has varied dramatically between cities. In July the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) provided grant funding to develop a coordinated system. The four-year AusPollen Partnership officially begins on the 1st of September 2016, the first day of Spring and Asthma Week 2016.

 

Around 2.3 million Australians have asthma1 with approximately 80% also experiencing hay fever2. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is inflammation in the nose that occurs when the immune system reacts to allergens in the air such as pollen.

Poorly managed hay fever can trigger an asthma attack, even in those with otherwise well-controlled asthma.

 

Hay fever can often be controlled with medication, but without standardized pollen reporting it is difficult for people to know when levels are spiking in their area. This knowledge could help them avoid life-threatening asthma attacks.

 

Localised information is important due to weather variations and predominant grasses. For instance, Brisbane has a season of low intensity from about November to April, whilst Melbourne gets a short but severe dose from around October to December. Canberra and Sydney tend to peak in Spring and again in Summer.

 

The AusPollen Partnership will expand the number of pollen monitoring stations and ensure that pollen traps in each city are maintained and located within set guidelines. This will make it simpler to compare levels across different cities.

 

A/Prof Janet Davies from QUT, the lead investigator of the AusPollen Partnership says,

“A structured approach to gathering pollen data will help Australians understand their risk of hay fever. They can use this information to determine when to take medication or limit outdoor activities.”

 

State Asthma Foundations funded much of A/Prof Davies early work which culminated in the NHMRC grant.

 

CEO of Asthma Australia, Mark Brooke says: “We are pleased to announce this project that will enable those with asthma and hay fever to reduce their risk of an asthma attack. Until the project is completed, we urge all Australians with asthma and hay fever to discuss both conditions with their GP or Pharmacist this Spring.”

 

Mark Sargent, General Manager, Bayer Consumer Health commented “Bayer is delighted to support Asthma Week, and to help raise awareness of managing asthma and hay fever in particular. We are committed to creating healthcare solutions for the benefit of people who suffer from allergies. Initiatives such as pollen monitoring are important for helping people to manage hay fever, and we’re pleased to help spread the word about good asthma and hay fever management through Asthma Week.”

In addition to standardising pollen forecasting, the team will provide daily alerts via smart phone apps and engage with users to evaluate and improve the pollen information service.

For asthma information and support contact your local asthma foundation on the 1800 ASTHMA helpline (1800 278 462)

1. http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/national/about-asthma/what-is-asthma-/statistics

2. https://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/national/about-asthma/could-it-be-asthma/what-else-could-it-be

 

 

ENDS

Media enquiries: Annette Stenhouse – 0416 861 732

Asthma Australia has supported the successful bid for an NHMRC-funded multi-centre Partnership Project with eight academic institutes and other organisations, including:

 Queensland University of Technology,

 LaTrobe University,

 University of Western Sydney,

 University of Melbourne,

 University of Technology Sydney

 Bureau of Meteorology

 CSIRO

 Waitemata District Health Service, New Zealand

 Macquarie University

 The Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

 Meteorology Switzerland

 Stallergenes Australia

 

Asthma Australia

For over 50 years Asthma Australia and Asthma Foundations have been the leaders in asthma health care, research and support. Asthma Australia delivers evidence-based preventative health strategies to over 200,000 people every year and provides support, training and resources to the primary health care sector.

 

Asthma Week 2016

Bayer is proud to support Asthma Week 2016 running from 1-7 September 2016. Asthma Australia advises:

1. Be informed (about asthma and hay fever)

2. Blow away hay fever

3. Brush up on your technique

4. Befriend your Health Professional

5. Breathe even better