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Suffer From Hay Fever? We've Got The News From Hell For You


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Those with hay fever are likely already dreading the beginning of spring, as the pollen that flowers, grasses, and trees release during the warmer seasons is set to fill the air.

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, happens when someone with the condition is exposed to something their system reacts to, like pollen, animal dander, or dust mites.

And while many of us associate the condition with spring, Max Wiseberg, allergen expert for HayMax, explains that many people are complaining of symptoms earlier in the year than usual.

This is because some species ― especially trees ― are flowering, thus releasing pollen, earlier than usual.

Why is this happening?

As with most maladies in the UK, it’s to do with the weather.

“With all this mild weather and things really warming up especially over the last few days trees are starting to flower a bit early,” Wiseberg explained.

“Even though hazel and yew usually bloom at this time of year their peaks are likely to come forward because of the weather.“

And the problem isn’t just that some trees will bloom early ― the disrupted schedule means that some species that would never, or rarely, bloom at the same time might find themselves with an unseasonal pollen crossover.

“Elder and willow usually peak around mid-March so the peak for these two will also be early, the problem with this is that we could have an unusually high number of tree species all flowering at the same time,” Wiseberg said.

How can I prevent, or improve, symptoms?

You can check the pollen count alongside the weather ― if this is running high, it might be a good idea to limit your outdoor activities on that day if possible.

You can also minimise exposure to pollen by applying petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) around your nostrils to trap pollen. Wear wrap-around sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes, and after being outside, shower and change your clothes to wash pollen off your body.

Opt to stay indoors whenever possible. Additionally, keep windows and doors shut as much as possible to prevent pollen from entering your home. Over-the-counter antihistamines can also help.

The NHS advises you to see a GP if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse, after taking precautions and medication.

Ah, the joys of spring...