The UK's Hay Fever Hotspots are Revealed
26th May 2017
hay fever hotspotsDo increasing temperatures and warm weather cause your eyes to itch, stream like the Niagara falls is emerging from the sockets, and uncontrollable sneezing like you’re in the middle of a potpourri factory? If so, you are probably one of the incredible 13million people Britain who are all battling allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever. March right through to September is particularly hazardous for hay fever sufferers, with various types of pollen rife in different months. The pollen season can be broken down into three main sections:
  • Tree pollen - late March to mid-May.
  • Grass pollen - mid-May to July.
  • Weed pollen - end of June to September.
If you are aware that it is grass pollen triggering your hay fever symptoms, you may want to consider avoiding the North West of England, Wales and Western Scotland this summer. It is these areas where experts warn will have a significantly larger density of grass coverage. The findings stem from detailed maps of the UK pinpointing the location of principal plants and trees that produce pollen. Research by Dr Nicholas Osborne, an epidemiologist and toxicologist, at the University of Exeter's Medical School said the maps can enable doctors to narrow down which pollens are most likely to trigger allergies and asthma. The plant maps were created by the team at the University of Exeter's Medical School in tandem with the Met Office so that the people around the country can be aware of the hayfever 'hotspots' to consider avoiding during peak pollen times, and may even help those people decide where is actually best to live. Research looked at grasses, plants and trees such as birch, oak, alder and nettles. The majority of people with hay fever find they are allergic to grass pollen – particularly rife in late spring and early summer. Dr Rachel McInnes and Dr Osborne of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School believe their maps of allergenic pollen-producing plants, combined with pollen forecasts and calendars, could help sufferers manage their condition by reducing their exposure to triggers. The team used aerial mapping and data to assess the tree canopy and the distribution of grasses to display areas where people could be particularly affected. Included in the maps were the location of 12 grasses, weeds and trees that emit pollen widely known to trigger hay fever and asthma, such as birch, alder, hazel, plane trees and oak, grass, nettles, mugwort and plantain. Hay fever hotspots
  • Grass pollen – Wales, parts of Scotland and national parks (Exmoor, the Peak District, Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, etc).
  • Birch and hazel – South-east.
  • Mugwort plants - Eastern coast.
  • Nettle plants – Cities (London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow, etc).
Dr Rachel McInnes said: “These maps are a step towards a species-level pollen forecast. Pollen can have a serious impact on the wellbeing of those with hay fever or asthma. By working towards a localised, species-level forecast, vulnerable people can better plan their activities and manage their condition. These new maps could also provide local authorities and healthcare practitioners with information to assist patients with pollen allergies. While these allergenic plant and tree maps do not provide a forecast of pollen levels, they do provide the most likely locations of grass and of tree species which are the source of most allergenic pollen.” The maps showing the hay fever hotspots are published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. View the study and maps here. Moreover, Medical Specialists® offer an extensive range of hay fever treatments such as popular non-drowsy antihistamines Loratadine and Cetirizine, and Nasonex nasal spray– a nasal corticosteroid spray for the relief of congestion, sneezing, itching and a runny nose. In addition, Medical Specialists® provide Prevalin. This is a nasal spray that lines the inside of your nose and actually deactivates the pollen, and our Alomide allergy eye drops can bring relief from red, itchy, watery and puffy eyes, if used regularly. We have also recently boosted our hay fever treatments to include corticosteroid treatments Flixonase Nasule Drops and Flixonase Nasal Spray. You can find out more information about these treatments on our Allergies page.