NHS offers advice during hay fever season

Research suggests that Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis, also known as hay fever affects 1 in 5 people at some point in their life, with over 10 million cases in the UK alone. It is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways, triggered by airborne allergens such as pollen, with grass pollen considered to be the most common cause of hay fever in the UK.

The number of hay fever sufferers has grown considerably over the past few years. Global warming may have contributed to this increase, due to the consequent longer growing seasons we have experienced. Sufferers usually find their symptoms flare up between the months of May to July, however people can be affected as early as March and as late as November.

Symptoms of hay fever can vary dramatically depending on the current seasons’ pollen count, from sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy or watery eyes and persistent cough, to headaches and fatigue. Combined with asthma, people suffering from hay fever may experience tightness in their chest and shortness of breath.

Dr Miles Langdon said:
“Sufferers of mild symptoms can ask the advice of their local pharmacist as often over the counter remedies are effective and relatively inexpensive. For more persistent symptoms and for sufferers of other common allergic conditions like eczema and asthma, should see their GP as they may need regular preventative medication as well as advice about emergency treatment.

Research indicates that many people find their symptoms lesson as they grow older, and in 10-20% of cases, they disappear completely. In the meantime it’s advisable to wear sunglasses when possible and try to change clothing after spending time outside as pollen can cling to clothing fibres.”

Visit the Met Office website to view a UK pollen forecast map, to help identify the areas most affected by a high pollen count.
If you would like more information on allergies, call Allergy UK on 01322 619898 or visit

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