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Summer misery for hay fever sufferers
PEOPLE with hay fever have been suffering a particularly bad summer with more than twice as many people visiting their doctor this year with allergy symptoms.
Figures released by the Royal College of General Practitioners this week showed 11,873 people had visited GP surgeries in England and Wales with hay fever or allergy symptoms in the week beginning Monday, June 9 – compared with 5,560 in the same week last year.
Although figures were not available for Worcestershire, chief palynologist at the National Pollen and Aerobiology Unit – which is based at the University of Worcester – Beverley Adams-Groom said a mixture of weather conditions was making the conditions worse than in previous years.
“Warm, sunny weather has coincided perfectly with the flowering of grasses, allowing their microscopic but potent allergenic pollen to become airborne in large amounts,” she said.
“Day after day, since Thursday, June 5, we have been getting high or very high pollen counts across the region and much of the UK.
“Suitable conditions for good grass growth in the spring allowed plenty of pollen to be produced and now hay fever sufferers are really feeling the effects.
“The good news is that the grasses will become exhausted of pollen quicker than in an average, changeable summer and so the season should be in decline by mid-July.”
Ian Michaelwaite of Pershore forecasters Netweather said pollen levels were likely to remain high until the weekend.
He said the reason so many allergy sufferers were feeling the effects at the moment was because grass and weed pollen as well as fungal spore pollen are at their peak.
Hay fever is caused by allergy to pollens.
Symptoms include sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes.
Children aged five to 14 years are most affected followed by people aged between 15 and 24 years old.
Hay fever sufferers are advised to ask their doctor or pharmacist if they are taking the correct medication and to avoid going outside in the first half of the morning and between 5pm and 10pm – when readings are usually the highest – as well as keeping windows and doors closed if possible.
Homes can be kept pollenfree by changing clothes and showering after long periods outside, wiping down surfaces and pets with a damp cloth and vacuuming floors regularly.
To check the latest pollen forecast visit the website at pollenforecast.org