A new national pollen monitoring and warning system is set to blow away the risk of hay fever for the hundreds of thousands of Australians with asthma.

Spring is just a couple of weeks away and brings with it increased levels of pollen - marking the start of hay fever season.

For the 1.8 million Australians with asthma, hay fever can trigger a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

In a bid to save lives, new standardised pollen monitoring and reporting will begin on September 1.

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Pollen allergy in subtropical regions is primarily due to subtropical (e.g. Bahia and Johnson) grasses, but tests and treatments are not optimised for these grass pollens. Dr Janet Davies of the Lung and Allergy Research Centre, TRI, and Professor Ian Godwin (School of Agriculture and Food Science), recently applied an innovative molecular and bioinformatic approach to identify the ‘allergome’ of Johnson grass pollen. 

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Nowhere is inclusive student involvement in ACEAS more clear than in the Australian aerobiology working group led by Dr Janet Davies of the University of Queensland. The group is collating and analysing historical published data and unpublished pollen-count data from regions of Australia, New Zealand and France to help answer a number of questions. Firstly, they want to understand phenological patterns, land-cover changes and pollen aerobiology; secondly, to gain insights into how the grass-pollen season is driven by current meteorology, and thus future climates. And, finally, they hope to establish a national pollen-count monitoring program to assist those who suffer from allergic respiratory disorders such as hay fever and asthma.

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