What’s the outlook for hay fever sufferers this year?

As much of the UK continues to experience mild spring weather this week, the thoughts of some 10 million people in the country will begin to turn to the dreaded symptoms of hay fever.

After a balmy week for most, with temperatures in the teens across much of the country, the Met Office Pollen Forecast is once again available for all to use. It can be found online and on the app and provides a five-day-ahead pollen forecast across the UK.

There are about 30 different types of pollen that can cause hay fever, and people can be allergic to more than one type.

A calendar showing the “normal” pollen season.

Unfortunately for around one in five UK hay fever sufferers, pollen season could start earlier than normal this year thanks, in part, to the recent mild weather many of us have seen. However, grass pollen, to which most people with hay fever are allergic, won’t start showing up until later in the year.

Yolanda Clewlow, relationship manager for the Met Office’s air quality and health services, said: “Birch pollen season is expected to start earlier than normal this year, with the central and southern areas of the UK beginning to feel its influence later this month.

“Furthermore, the relatively mild winter we saw also opens up the possibility of an earlier than average oak pollen season, possibly mid-April, and an earlier grass pollen season as well, although that will depend on weather conditions. the rest of the spring. .”

Based on average temperature figures, the UK had its eighth mildest winter on record in a series dating back to 1884, and this has given nature a bit of an advantage over average pollen seasons.

Yolanda continued: “People normally have symptoms of hay fever when the pollen count, which is a measure of the number of pollen grains in a cubic meter of air, exceeds 50 and it is tree pollen that we will be taking a closer look in the coming weeks

“It is too early to say how much pollen will be released this year, but the pollen forecast gives a good indication of the next five-day period and we will know more about the types and amount of pollen likely to be released as we go. until spring.

Grass pollen is the most common cause of allergies, affecting 95% of people with hay fever, and far fewer people are affected by trees, weeds, and other pollen species.

Most people with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen, although you may be allergic to more than one type of pollen.

With mild conditions expected to largely dominate over the weekend, keep an eye on the pollen forecast for your area on the Met Office website or app.

See tips for treating hay fever on the Met Office website.

Find out how different types of climate affect pollen production, distribution, and dispersal.

Learn more about pollen allergies and hay fever.

For information on how to protect yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, check out the Met Office’s UV forecast.

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