Mild winter brings early onset hayfever to Canterbury

Many Cantabrians are enjoying a warmer than usual winter and daffodils have bloomed early, but for some, the mild conditions have brought on the less favourable symptoms of spring.

Spring is less than two weeks away and while it looks beautiful, it's brought an early onset of hayfever in Christchurch for allergy sufferers.

Karen Killbride, who works at the pharmacy in Addington, told Newshub the increase of people coming in has been huge.

"Either antihistamine tablets or nasal spray or both, not knowing whether they've had a cold or flu or it's an allergy," she said.

After a mild winter everyone has noticed the daffodils in Christchurch's Hagley Park have popped up early.

Hunstberry resident Kerry Adams said she's noticed a film of yellow pollen on her car and outdoor table.

"Normally it happens in about a month times but it seems to be happening a lot earlier this year," she told Newshub.

John Chamberlain's family has been in the daffodil business for three generations and this is earliest he can remember the daffodils blooming.

"We're usually struggling to find daffodils at this time of year and we're actually picking them full force at the moment."

It doesn't take much to bring on these early bloomers. MetService says while it has been a warm winter in Canterbury, the average temperature for the months of June, July and August has only been about 1degC higher than usual.

The allergy season normally runs from the third week of August right through until March. In Christchurch, it appears to have hit early.

Mark Dixon from Allergy New Zealand said warmer, more humid starts to the spring will see pine pollen and other related species doing their pollen burst a bit earlier.       

Chemists are stocking up to meet the extra demand.    

"For this time of year were selling close to double of this product. We normally wouldn't see that sort of increase or need until another month away," Ms Killbride said.

Meaning spring might just be the longest season this year.