Watery eyes, non-stop sniffling, sleepless nights: if you feel like your hay fever couldn’t get any worse right now, you’re not alone.
Thousands of people across the UK are struggling at the moment - and Beverley Adams-Groom, pollen forecaster at University Of Worcester, tells HuffPost UK it’s because the weather’s been so nice recently.
“We had very good conditions for the growth of grasses and other allergenic plants, allowing them to produce very high amounts of pollen,” she explains. “These conditions included plenty of warm temperatures and sufficient rainfall during late April and May. Coupled with that, in many regions we have good weather for pollen dispersal during the in-season period – warm, dry, sunny with breezes.”
Adams-Groom explains that some people only get hay fever when pollen levels are very high, which is why more people seem to be experiencing symptoms. “This is because people vary in their response to the allergens, some suffering even at quite low levels, the majority suffering during high levels and some only at very high,” she adds.
People who are allergic specifically to grass pollen will also be struggling as June and early July is when grass pollen is released. Birch tree and catkin pollen tend to be earlier, in mid to late April, and oak pollen in May.
To top that off, people living in cities are at risk of even worse symptoms thanks to the combined effect of high air pollution and pollen. A survey by Boots, which dubs the issue ‘pollenution’, found 89% of people don’t realise their hay fever symptoms can actually be worse in the city than in the countryside. It estimates that London, Cardiff, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow are worst affected.
How to reduce symptoms:
:: Shower before bed to get rid of any pollen lingering in your hair and clothes.
:: Smear a small amount of petroleum jelly or a nasal barrier balm under your nose first thing in the morning.
:: Wear sunglasses when out and about.
:: Ditch the mascara or buy waterproof products to avoid panda eyes.
:: Keep your windows closed in the morning and evening when pollen counts are highest - you can have them open between 11am and 4.30pm.
:: Dry your washing inside so the pollen doesn’t stick to it.
:: Get changed as soon as you get home from work so you’re not traipsing pollen around the house.
:: Cut down on alcohol, which can worsen symptoms of hay fever.