Plants bloom and hay fever booms

Tumut Bush Chemist pharmacist Luke Peacock with daughter Sophie and some of the hay fever medications at the pharmacy.

The rain the Tumut-Adelong-Batlow region has received this year been a huge bonus for everyone, but it has brought some unwelcome health effects on the population.

Tumut Bush Chemist pharmacist Luke Peacock says this is the worst year he has seen for hay fever, eczema and asthma, due largely to pollen from blooming plants.

“It has been one of the wetter years, and there is more pollen around,” Mr Peacock said.

“From year to year it has gotten worse; as global warming continues the growing season gets longer each year. We had a couple of dry years followed by a particularly wet one. It is as though it is making up for lost time.”

Mr Peacock has noticed a big increase in people coming in for hay fever, eczema and asthma medication.

“We are selling a lot of antihistamines, nasal spray and eye drops,” he said.

“If people find something isn’t working they come in for something else; there’s a huge range of options.”

Other than asthma medication, most of what is available does not require a prescription.

The pharmacy also sells tissues and is going through a few of them.

“I also think people are going through the toilet paper they stockpiled,” Mr Peacock said.   

Mr Peacock also works at the Bush Chemist pharmacies at Batlow, Tumbarumba, Cootamundra, Young, Wagga, Leeton and Griffith and says it is “the same everywhere.”

However, some of the introduced trees in Tumut aren’t making it easier.

“Pines produce a lot of pollen, and the poplars down at the river have a huge amount; it’s like snow.”

Despite this, introduced trees and plants aren’t the only culprits.

“All native grasses still produce a huge amount of seeds and pollen,” Mr Peacock said.

The good news is that things should get better once spring is over.

“The situation will improve in summer,” he said.

Mr Peacock knows what the most important message is in all of this.

“Covid is still a threat,” he said.

“If you have a cough or a sore throat, the first thing you need to do is get a test,” he said.