Pollen: The main cause of spring fever and other allergies

During springtime, billions of tiny particles called pollen are released into the air from all sorts of plants, including trees, flowers and even grass. Exposure to pollen is known to cause allergy symptoms that we commonly refer to as hay fever, spring fever or pollen fever.

Pollen causes hay fever

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Pollen plays a crucial role in plant reproduction as pollen consists of grains that produce male gametes needed for fertilisation. It is necessary for the sexual reproduction of flowering plants. During springtime, many plants pollinate, hence the increase in pollen concentration in the outdoor air.

For many individuals, pollen can be a common allergy trigger that irritates passageways, causing what we commonly call hay fever.

In this blog post, we discuss what pollen is, its effects on humans, why it irritates your passageways and how you can beat it to better enjoy the beauty of spring!

What is pollen?

Pollen is a fine powdery substance released by flowering plants that is part of their reproductive process called pollination. Pollen particles usually measure at an average of 25 micrometres but can vary in size, as small as 2.5 micrometres, or it can be as large as 200 micrometres. The size of the pollen varies depending on the type of plant or tree that releases the particles.

Pollen particles are made up of tiny grains that contain the male reproductive cells that are needed to fertilise the female part of the plants of the same species. Pollen is transported from one flower to another by wind, insects, birds, animals, wind and even by attaching itself to humans.

Although pollen is essential for plant reproduction, it can pose health issues for humans. When airborne pollen comes into contact with sensitive individuals, it can trigger allergic reactions we know as hay fever or its scientific name, allergic rhinitis, experienced by over 4.6 million Australians.

Why does pollen cause allergies?

Pollen causes allergic reactions in specific individuals because it contains proteins that, when inhaled, their immune system may misidentify them as harmful particles. Since the immune system detects a threat, it goes into defence mode and releases antibodies that detect the allergens, which eventually cause inflammatory reactions.

A chemical called histamine is also released during this process, which is responsible for the different hay fever symptoms such as a runny nose, eye irritation and sneezing, among others. 

In summary, pollen triggers allergic reactions because our immune system may mistakenly identify them as harmful threats, which then leads to the release of chemicals, including histamines, which cause allergy symptoms.

Effects of pollen exposure

Exposure to pollen causes several different symptoms depending on the individual. Its severity also differs depending on the individual. Some common symptoms of pollen exposure include:

  • Eye allergies: Pollen causes allergic reactions in the eyes that can lead to redness, itching, burning and excessive tearing of the eyes.
  • Allergy symptoms: Common allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, wheezing, shortness of breath are felt by those experiencing spring allergies.
  • Fatigue: Experiencing the constant allergy symptoms of sneezing, coughing, eye irritations, and others can cause a person to feel drained and tired, as these can take a hefty physical toll if left untreated for long periods.
  • Skin reactions: Pollen can also cause people to develop rashes. This symptom is far less common than respiratory or eye symptoms.
  • Secondary infections: Constant sneezing and nasal congestion can inadvertently lead to infections in the sinus or ears. This is more common among children.
  • Asthma exacerbation: For those living with asthma, pollen exposure can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms, especially during outdoor activities. There are also benefits to air purifiers for asthma symptoms.

Are pollen allergies treatable and curable?

Pollen allergies can be treated to reduce its severity and intensity through a number of different treatment options but is not considered curable, meaning that it cannot be permanently eliminated from the body.

It’s a chronic and seasonal condition that can be managed with the right treatment and modifications to one’s lifestyle.

Tips for better breathing during spring

Although spring fever may not be entirely curable, simple modifications and changes to one’s lifestyle can lead to a better quality of life during springtime, allowing you to enjoy the blooming flowers and avoid respiratory sensitivities.

Below are some tips you can adopt for better breathing all season long.

Stay informed on local pollen count

It may be impractical to avoid spending time outdoors where pollen is most present, especially in parks or local areas with a lot of greeneries. However, it would help to plan your time outdoors during periods with less pollen, as reported in your local pollen count resource.

Keep openings sealed

Avoid leaving doors and windows open for extended periods of time, especially when pollen count is high. Generally, pollen counts begin to rise in the morning and reach its peak during midday.

Use air purifiers for pollen allergy

Air purifiers from Ionmax, like the Ionmax Breeze, are effective at trapping allergens as small as 0.3 microns, including pollen particles. Once these allergens and other particles are filtered from the air, cleaner, purified air is released back into the living space, allowing users to enjoy cleaner air.

Ionmax Breeze air purifier for allergies
Buy the Ionmax Breeze air purifier for allergies

Dry clothes indoors

As pollen travels through the air, it could land on laundry that is being dried outdoors, leading to it finding its way into your home, which increases the risk of exposure. Dehumidifiers are effective tools to help speed up drying clothes indoors.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated by regularly drinking water can help thin out mucus and make it more manageable.

Clean regularly

Regularly cleaning your home by wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth and vacuuming floors using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can remove the presence of pollen particles that have settled on surfaces and the floor. This reduces the chances they will be reintroduced to your ambient air.


From our discussion above, we can see that the spread of pollen is a natural phenomenon that is essential for the growth of plants, trees and other greeneries. However, exposure to pollen can lead to adverse effects on humans in the form of respiratory complications, including sneezing, coughing, eye irritations, fatigue, skin irritations and more.

This happens when the immune system mistakenly identifies pollen as a harmful particle and releases antibodies and chemicals, including histamine, to combat it. This causes allergic reactions.

Although hay fever is not curable, making changes to one’s lifestyle during springtime can help manage these symptoms. Using an air purifier can help stop the spread of pollen particles indoors, leading to reduced exposure and healthier breathing.

Browse through Ionmax’s selection of HEPA air purifiers to find the best unit to suit your living space and enjoy a more beautiful spring today!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.

Ionmax Australia

Ionmax Australia

Founded in 2003, Ionmax Australia has received numerous awards and accolades for its innovative products and commitment to customer satisfaction. Ionmax dehumidifiers and air purifiers have been recognised for their effectiveness in reducing indoor air pollutants and improving air quality. The company is committed to researching and developing new and improved products that meet the needs and expectations of its customers, making it a trusted name in households across Australia and beyond.

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