Asthma and Pollen

What Is Pollen?

  • Plants make tiny grains called pollen in order to reproduce.
  • Pollen comes from trees, grasses and weeds.
  • These pollens are light and easily carried by the wind.

Pollens are released at different times of the year:

Trees April & May (Spring)
Grasses June & July
Weeds August & September (Fall)
  • Pollen counts tend to be higher on warm, dry, windy days.
  • Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning.
  • Pollen counts tend to be lower during cold, wet periods.
  • You can find out pollen counts in your area at the Weather Network or online (


Pollen Allergy

  • Pollen is an outdoor allergen.
  • An allergen is something you are allergic to.
  • Pollen can trigger an allergic reaction or hayfever causing sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, nose or throat, runny nose and watery eyes.
  • Ragweed pollen is a common asthma trigger.
  • People with a pollen allergy may think that they have a spring or summer cold, but the symptoms last longer than 2 weeks.
  • Symptoms that seem to occur at the same time each year may be caused by a pollen allergy.  Talk to your doctor.


Avoidance Measures

  • The more you avoid what you are allergic to, the fewer symptoms you will have.
  • Keep home and car windows closed when pollen counts are high.
  • Air conditioning may be helpful to keep pollen from coming indoors.
  • Stay indoors in the morning when pollen levels are higher.
  • If working outdoors, wearing a face mask to filter out pollen may be helpful.
  • Avoid cutting the grass or doing yard work if it causes symptoms.
  • Do not dry clothes outdoors.  Pollen can stick to clothes.


Treating a Pollen Allergy

  • Nasal symptoms can often be controlled with antihistamines and nasal steroid spray.
  • If you have asthma, more Controller medicine may be needed when the pollen count is high.
  • Sometimes allergy shots are used for people with seasonal to grass, tree or weed pollen.
  • Speak to your doctor to learn more about a pollen allergy.


The Children's Asthma Education Centre ©2011