Hay fever sufferers are facing an early onset of symptoms as the first ‘pollen bomb’ of the season arrived to the UK ahead of usual schedule.

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is one of the most prevalent allergies in the UK affecting nearly half of the population.

The UK Health Security Agency has attributed these early arrival ‘pollen bombs’ to climate change

The term ‘pollen bombs’ describes sudden, massive releases of pollen which can resemble smoke as it travels through the air.

These events occur during warm, settled weather with high pressure and light winds which are perfect for pollen distribution.

Pollen levels typically peak during early mornings and late evenings.

A study by Allergy UK in 2020 highlighted that 49% of Britons suffer from symptoms of hay fever such as sneezing, blocked noses, itchy throats, and swollen/watery eyes.

Birch trees which are typically the first to release pollen have been shedding spores two weeks earlier than expected.

Max Wiseberg, an airborne allergens specialist expressed concerns when speaking to The Pembrokeshire Herald stating that Birch is “particularly troublesome” for hay fever sufferers.

This causes challenges for the 25% of Britons who experience allergic reactions due to Birch pollen.

Furthermore, with rising temperatures and increased rainfall across the UK, grass pollen season which usually spans from May to July, might extend even further.

This would lead to an unusually high release of pollen.

To better manage hay fever, the Met Office UK recommends:

  • Using websites/apps to monitor pollen forecasts to stay inside/outside as appropriate
  • Shield your eyes from pollen to reduce irritation
  • Maintain a clean home environment
  • Staying informed and prepared

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