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Kiwis urged to check flu-like symptoms experienced during pine pollen season aren’t Covid-19

With the pine pollen season underway in New Zealand, one expert says it is "more important than usual" for people whose health is affected by the particles to be sure they aren't sick with anything else, including Covid-19.

Source: TVNZ

The full pollen season in New Zealand is approximately three to four weeks long and varies in its timings each year, according to MetService pollen forecaster Dr David Fountain.

As New Zealand is looking at several days of light winds and little rain, MetService has said there could be a pollen build up in the air.

Over the three or four weeks of pine pollen release Dr Fountain says everyone breathes the pollen grains and “many people notice an effect on their health”.

“Some pollen production like pine pollen is produced in such great quantity that it causes cold or flu-like symptoms of scratchy throat, irritated eyes and nose tissues.”

He says health implications reported to him over the years due to pine pollen include scratchy sore throat, catarrhal cough, slight upper respiratory wheezing, stuffy nose or a runny nose and headaches.

“It seems more important than usual this year because most people notice health effects resulting from breathing these pollen particles,” he says.

“People might need to check with a doctor to be sure these symptoms are not due to virus infections such as cold, seasonal flu or most importantly Covid-19.”

Tom Adams, MetService meteorologist says heavy rain can take the pollen out of the air, but much of the country won’t see rain for the next while.

He says Thursday will see stronger winds across New Zealand, which will bring a “bit of relief”.

“Half way through the weekend it should have cleared a bit,” says Mr Adams.