30 million Brits could be suffering with hay fever within 20 years
Experts are warning that increasing levels of pollution will cause large amounts of pollen to be trapped in the atmosphere, resulting in the number of hay fever sufferers in the UK doubling to reach 30 million in the next two decades. Hay fever is also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, and already effects around 15 million people in the UK – 10 million of these in England alone. The common allergic condition can be absolute misery for those who have it, causing a variety of symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, frequent sneezing, itchy, red, or watery eyes and headaches caused by a stuffy nose. One in 5 Brits have to battle these despairing symptoms, with more than nine out of 10 people in the UK with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen, which usually peaks in mid-June. It is therefore no surprise that Medical Specialists™ Pharmacy have seen requests for non-drowsy antihistamines such as Cetirizine and Loratadine soar in recent weeks as patients, new and old, try to keep their symptoms managed. However, whilst most in Britain are grateful for the recent soaring temperatures, the sunshine can spell misery for those with hay fever. Researchers at the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit at Worcester University say that two primary factors - weather and pollution - are closely connected to the summer allergy. They say that hay fever is found to be twice as prevalent in Britain’s towns and cities compared to the countryside, due to much larger amounts of traffic pollution, adding that ‘photochemical smog’ is produced from vehicle fumes. This smog then traps pollen in its tracks before it can escape into the upper atmosphere. This results is to concentrate the spores where hay fever sufferers are in reach of them – at ground level. Beverley Adams-Groom, chief pollen forecaster at the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit spoke about how the weather is also a problematic factor for those with hay fever. She said: “Weather and pollen are closely linked. Since 2007, poor weather has meant average pollen seasons. The mild, wet weather of the late winter and early spring is responsible for increased pollen levels this year. “This year there has been good grass growth as a result of the pre-summer climate and we are increasingly experiencing longer, more intense pollen seasons. With a dry British summer predicted there is potential for a severe hay fever season in 2014.” The start of summer may officially only be three days away and bringing with it a potential heap of anguish for millions, but you can prepare right now by visiting the Medical Specialists™ Pharmacy asthma and allergies page where you can find a wide range of hay fever treatments like antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops and sinus rinses.