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.
  • Pollen from flowers do not usually cause allergy problems. These pollen grains are too large to be wind blown.

Pollens are released at different times of the year:

Trees Spring
Grasses Summer     
Weeds Fall
  • Pollen counts tend to be higher in the morning and on warm, dry, windy days.
  • Pollen counts tend to be lower during cold, wet periods.
  • Pollen counts in your area are posted at the Weather Network or online (


Pollen Allergy

  • Pollen is an outdoor allergen.
  • An allergen is something you are allergic to.
  • Pollen can trigger sneezing, runny nose, coughing, itchy eyes, nose or throat, 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 the windows of your home and car 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, shoes and to your pet's fur.


Treating a Pollen Allergy

  • During the pollen season, 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 allergies to grass, tree or weed pollen.
  • Speak to your doctor to learn more about a pollen allergy.


The Children's Asthma Education Centre ©2011, 2014