Warmer weather may wreak havoc with hay fever symptoms, survey suggests

The majority of people believe rising temperatures are making their hay fever symptoms more severe.

23 March 2022

While some people will welcome the warmer weather, for others the unusual temperatures will wreak havoc with their hay fever symptoms.

Experts are warning that rising temperatures may cause tree pollen levels to spike across the UK.

According to the Met Office, the first week of spring will see dry, sunny weather and daytime temperatures in the mid to late teens for the coming week.

It is thought climate change may be leading to an extension of the grass and tree pollen season, with it starting earlier.

And people who suffer from hay fever believe pollution (64%), rising temperatures (52%) and extreme weather conditions (38%) are the biggest environmental factors impacting their allergies.

The new research from Kleenex surveyed 2,000 people in the UK with hay fever and found that over the past 12 months many have experienced their symptoms getting worse.

This includes sneezing (72%), itchy eyes (64%) and a runny nose (48%).

One third of those polled admitted to staying indoors because their allergies are too severe, while 12% said they have called in sick to work.

The survey found that on average, increased symptoms for allergy sufferers resulted in a loss of two hours’ sleep a night, and 33% of those surveyed said they avoid local parks and green spaces.

A quarter (25%) wrongly self-diagnosed their hay fever symptoms for Covid-19.

According to the research, more than half (58%) of allergy sufferers did not know what pollen they were allergic to, and only a fifth (20%) recognised their symptoms for what they are.

Amena Warner, head of clinical services at the charity Allergy UK, said: “Living with allergies and maintaining a quality of life is not always easy.

“Enjoying everyday activities can become a real struggle.

“With the realities that warmer weather brings, it is crucial that allergy sufferers be given the advice, support and tools to manage their symptoms whilst staying active and healthy.”

Kleenex has developed new technology enhancing its pollen forecast, and users can now check the forecast at home and work locations up to five days in advance.

People can also take a quiz to get a better idea of whether it is grass, tree, or weed pollen that affects them, giving a better understanding of their allergy so they can prepare for the season ahead.

On Wednesday, tree pollen levels are expected to be high across Coventry, Newcastle, Leicester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool.

They are forecast to be moderate in London and Belfast.

Jin Zhang, global medical director at Kimberly-Clark UK, said: “When temperatures rise, primary sources of pollutants tend to increase, making the air quality even more challenging for millions of hay fever sufferers.

“As such, global warming will likely cause pollen seasons to start earlier and last longer.”

The survey was conducted online by Mortar Research in March 2022 according to Market Research Society guidelines.

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