Hay fever misery as high pollen counts strike – map reveals worst areas hit (2024)

HAY FEVER sufferers are facing a miserable weekend - as a pollen bomb is set to drop across the whole of England as early as tomorrow.

The warmer weather will allow birch trees to offload pollen into the air,which will keep people sneezing for several days.


The Met Office said pollen levels will be "high" across all of England on Thursday and Friday, where temperatures are due to reach 20C in places.

It will remain "high" across large swathes of the country on Saturday, including the South East, West Midlands, East Midlands and the East of England.

Wales will see "medium" levels on Thursday before experiencing the bombs rath on Friday when levels are predicted to jump to "high".

Welsh hay fever sufferers will be relieved of their agony once again on Saturday when levels drop back to "medium".

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"Medium" pollen levels will be seen in Northern Ireland and most of Scotland from Thursday to Saturday.

The only areas spared of the bomb's blow are the Highlands, Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland, where pollen levels are predicted to be "low" for three days.

Some of the more southern Scottish regions, including Strathclyde, Central, Tayside, Fyfe, and Grampian, will see "medium" pollen levels until Saturday, when the count is due to drop to "low."

Bedford-based airborne allergens specialist Max Wiseberg warned that this is " just the beginning" of the "peak tree pollen production."

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What is hay fever: Hayfever season strikes early as mild winter sparks early pollen 'explosion'

He added: "[It's] not good news for hay fever sufferers allergic to tree pollen, which will likely continue well into May."

It's estimated that half the British population suffer from hay fever symptoms, according to Allergy UK.

Most people tend to be allergic to grass pollen, whichstrikesin latespringand earlysummer.

But up to 25 per cent of hay fever sufferers are allergic to tree pollen, which tends to start circulating in spring.

Birch trees have started blooming two weeks ahead of their usual date, prompting experts to warn that this is an omen for worse to come.

The switch to longer daylight hours and a mix of sunshine, showers and branch-shaking windy weather has produced perfect conditions for tree pollen as we move into April, they said.

How can I prep for the pollen bomb?

Max advised that hay fever sufferersstart preparing for the pollensurge to come in the next few months.

Max said: "If you use antihistamines, many manufacturers recommend starting a month before your season starts.

"And it's the same with nasal sprays - they need several days to build up their maximum protective effect and some makers advise starting using them one month before your hay fever season begins."

For acute symptoms, he suggests a 'Hay Fever First Aid Kit' of different products that can complement each other in providing relief.

For example, applying an allergen barrier balm to the nostrils can trap the tiny particles before they enter the body.

There are also practicalstepssuch as wrap-around sunglasses, tying up pollen-attracting longhairand wearing a cap outdoors.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen and other airborne allergens such as fungal spores.

It happens when the immune system's overacting to antigens such as pollen.

These antigens stimulate the body's mast cells, which release histamines that cause unpleasant itching, redness, inflammation and other hay fever symptoms.

It is more common in younger people - at least one in four people aged 15-25 are sufferers.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hay fever, which causes sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, red, itchy eyes, earaches and headaches.

In the UK, this year's pollen season started early - with birch trees blooming more than two weeks ahead of schedule.

Peak levels of grass pollen are similarly anticipated to be pulled forward from June in the coming months due to the balmy weather.

It's expected this year's season will last until at least October, with grass pollen gradually being replaced by weed pollen into theautumn.


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Hay fever symptoms & how to treat it

HAY fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.

Typical symptoms include:

  • frequent sneezing
  • runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes (allergicconjunctivitis)
  • an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • cough, caused by postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose)

Less commonly, you may also experience:

  • the loss of your sense of smell (anosmia)
  • facial pain (caused by blocked sinuses)
  • headaches
  • earache
  • tiredness and fatigue

If you haveasthma, yourasthma symptomsmay get worse when you have hay fever.

How to treat it

There's currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.

But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.

  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting into your eyes
  • Shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
  • Stay indoors whenever possible
  • Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
  • Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities

Source: NHS

Hay fever misery as high pollen counts strike – map reveals worst areas hit (2024)


Why are hay fever symptoms so bad this year? ›

Hayfever can get worse when temperatures increase because, as warm air rises, it takes pollen with it. As pollen circulates, it is easily breathed in by unsuspecting hayfever sufferers.

Which states have the worst allergies? ›

The 10 Worst Cities for People With Allergies
  • Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Dallas, Texas.
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Richmond, Virginia.
  • Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Mar 25, 2024

Where is the highest pollen count in the US? ›

The AAFA placed Wichita, Kansas, in the top spot this year based on its high tree and grass pollen score, a higher-than-average allergy medication use and the limited number of allergy or immunology specialists per patient. Here are the top 20 allergy capitals for 2023: Wichita, Kansas.

What part of the day is pollen count highest? ›

When Is The Pollen Count Low? On an average day, pollen counts rise during the morning, peak about midday, and then gradually fall. So the lowest pollen counts are usually before dawn and in the late afternoon to early evening.

Does vitamin D help hay fever? ›

Take vitamin D

This may influence how the immune response 'overreacts' to an allergen and may explain the exacerbated symptoms we are seeing,” says Wilkhu. “It's important to check your vitamin D levels if you're suffering badly with hay fever.

How to cure hay fever permanently naturally? ›

Can you cure hay fever? If you're wondering how to cure hay fever permanently, unfortunately the short answer is that there is no cure currently.

What's the worst state to live in for allergies? ›

Worst Cities and States for Allergies

States that have a lot of trees, grass, and weeds will have a lot of allergens. Areas in the Northeast U.S. like Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. Virginia, Kansas, and Texas have a high rate of allergens.

What state has the lowest pollen? ›

What are the Five Best States for Tree Pollen Allergies?
  • Arizona.
  • Nevada.
  • New Mexico.
  • California.
  • Utah.
Jul 24, 2023

What state has the worst pollen allergies? ›

Cities in Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and the Carolinas dominate the list of worst places for allergies. Dr. Nana Mireku, an allergist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said “people are pretty miserable right now and allergists are pretty busy.”

What is the best state for allergy sufferers? ›

The 25 best places to live in the US for allergy sufferers
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia. ...
  • Augusta, Georgia. ...
  • San Jose, California. ...
  • Madison, Wisconsin. ...
  • San Francisco. ...
  • Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina. Best Places 2022-2023 Rank: 6. ...
  • Portland, Oregon. Best Places 2022-2023 Rank: 22. ...
  • Seattle. Best Places 2022-2023 Rank: 36.
Mar 20, 2023

What states have no pollen season? ›

What are the Five Best States for Pollen Allergy Sufferers?
  • Arizona.
  • New Mexico.
  • Nevada.
  • Utah.
  • California.
Jul 24, 2023

What is the allergy capital of the US? ›

Wichita, Kansas, came in at the top of the list for the second straight year thanks to the city's higher-than-average tree and grass pollen, higher-than-average medicine use, and low access to allergy specialists. Cities in Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma and the Carolinas dominate the list of worst places for allergies.

What month is pollen the strongest? ›

They're called "seasonal allergies" because each type of pollen has a season where they're most potent. Here's a general timeline of common pollen seasons: March through June is tree pollen season. June, July, and August is usually when the grass pollens are high, sometimes into September in a warm year.

What city has the highest pollen count? ›

This year's report named Wichita, Kansas, as the top 2024 Allergy Capital for the second year in a row due to its: Higher-than-average tree and grass pollen. Higher-than-average allergy medicine use.

Why is my hayfever getting worse as I get older? ›

An older 2011 review states that physiological and anatomical changes in the nose, such as weakening of the septum, occur due to aging. This may worsen symptoms of hay fever that occur when people experience a hypersensitive reaction to pollen or other environmental substances they are exposed to.

What season is hay fever the worst? ›

Most people associate hay fever with spring, when airborne grass pollens are at their peak. This is known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or spring hay fever. However, hay fever can occur at any time of the year.

Does hay fever mean you have a weak immune system? ›

Allergies generally indicate that the immune system is in a kind of overdrive, reacting to a whole host of things that don't actually cause any harm to the body. A little bit of animal dander, for example, poses no threat to the body; but, in allergy sufferers, the immune system basically believes that it does.

What is the best treatment for hayfever? ›

Most people with hay fever will be able to manage their symptoms themselves by taking antihistamines. Antihistamines come in a lot of different forms, like tablets, nasal sprays, liquids, and eye drops. You may need to try different types to find one that works well for you. Your pharmacist can help you with this.

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