Hay fever sufferers endure pollen spike due to an early spring

Jessica Carpani
Hay fever sufferers endure pollen spike due to an early spring

People with hay fever have had to endure a pollen spike this year due to an early spring, allergy experts have said.

Despite today being the first day of summer, the season for tree pollen and grass pollen, which affect those with hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, has been earlier than usual this year, according to doctors.

Dr Apelles Econs MRCS, LRCP Medical Director of the Burghwood Clinic in London has said that the warm winter followed by an early spring has caused people to suffer prematurely this year.

“A lot of people have started suffering from tree pollen from March onwards and probably earlier - the grass pollen season, which normally starts in late May to early August, has now started in early May because it’s been a warm and dry month. That’s quite a big issue.”

He added that while rain, which is predicted for later this week, will clear the atmosphere, it also provides the perfect environment for humidity, which traps the pollen, meaning hay fever may be worse the day after a storm.

“As much as we like the sunny months they do come with an increased amount of rain and after that is high humidity, which keeps the pollen in the air.

“The rain clears the air quite instantly if it’s heavy but the pollen rises when the sun comes out.”

Seven ways to beat hay fever

While most hay fever symptoms can be kept at bay with antihistamines, it can be life-threatening for those with asthma and an estimated 3.3 million people say that pollen triggers their symptoms, according to Asthma UK.

Dr Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK and practising GP, said: “Grass pollen levels, which trigger hay fever, are currently high or very high in most parts of the UK.

“A high pollen count could put people with asthma at risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

“With warm weather causing grass pollen levels to rise, we are advising everyone with asthma who suffers from hay fever to make sure they take their asthma medicines as prescribed alongside their usual hay fever medicines to reduce the risk of hay fever triggering an asthma attack.”  

The charity advises asthma sufferers to carry their reliever inhaler daily, to take their preventer inhaler as prescribed and to take antihistamines or a steroid nasal spray.