Protect yourself this pollen season
A RE-ELECTED Andrews Labor Government will enshrine public holidays – Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Grand Final Friday – in law, helping to protect the penalty rates of thousands of Victorian workers. By STRUAN JONES
HAY fever and asthma sufferers have been put on notice as Victoria’s grass pollen season has started.
The state’s world-leading pollen count forecasting system delivered its first epidemic thunderstorm asthma forecast for 2018 this week.
The system was established two years ago in response to the unusual epidemic thunderstorm asthma event that hit Melbourne in November 2016, resulting in 10 deaths.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer Dr Angie Bone said with the forecasting system live this week, Victorians can monitor the forecast and those at increased risk can take actions to protect themselves on high-risk days.
The monitoring system reads pollen counters, and is located in eight locations around Victoria, with Dookie the closest to the alpine region.
“The system also enables health professionals and emergency services to be prepared on days of increased risk,” Dr Bone said.
The forecasts are available during Victoria’s grass pollen
While these days are currently gazetted by the Andrews Labor Government as public holidays year after year, writing them into law will make sure they are permanently protected.
When penalty rates were first introduced, Sundays were treated the same as public holidays, attracting the same rates and benefits for workers.
But now – thanks to the slow wind back of penalty rates under successive Liberal governments – Victorians working on Easter Sunday miss out on increased rates of pay.
The same occurs when Christmas Day falls on a weekend, with the current legislation only providing for public holiday rates on a substitute day during the week. season, typically from October through December, and can be accessed via the VicEmergency app or online at emergency.vic. gov.au.
“The best way to protect yourself from thunderstorm asthma is through good management of asthma and hay fever,” Dr Bone said.
It means that when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, Victorians – like nurses and emergency workers – don’t get public holiday rates – but their colleagues working on the substitute Monday do. It’s just unfair.
And it’s why we will permanently protect the public holiday penalty rates of Victorian workers, introducing legislation in its very first year.
Unlike the Liberals, Labor backs Grand Final Friday. Not just for footy fans, it’s a chance for Victorians to spend time with family and friends, and a big boost for businesses and tourism operators across our state. Daniel Andrews Victorian Premier
Myrtleford pharmacist Cameron An of Chemist King, notices an annual increase in hay fever complaints at this time of year.
He recommended those who are prone to asthma to check their ventilators are in date, and others who have suffered from hay fever symptoms keep antihistamines or appropriate nasal sprays on hand.
Mr An also suggested keeping clothes worn for long periods of time outdoors isolated from clean clothes, in order to contain pollen.
Epidemic thunderstorm asthma is an uncommon phenomenon where a large number of people experience asthma over a short period of time, thought to be triggered by high grass pollen levels and a certain type of thunderstorm.
“We want everyone – especially people with asthma and hay fever – to be as prepared as they can all year round,” Dr Bone said.
It is recommended where possible, people with asthma and hay fever should avoid exposure to springtime thunderstorms, and especially the wind gusts that precede them.
BE PREPARED: Myrtleford pharmacist Cameron An expects an increase in hay fever complaints this spring.