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This year’s hay fever has been particularly bad for me. How does ‘potent’ pollen cause more aggressive symptoms, and how can you treat it?

The weather in the United Kingdom is heating up, resulting in higher pollen levels and unpleasant hay fever symptoms in some areas.

Although pollen levels have remained fairly typical for this time of year, many sufferers have reported particularly bad symptoms this spring, and experts at the Met Office believe there could be a reason for the increased number of aggressive symptoms.

Is hay fever worse this year?

Spring has arrived, and grasses have begun to release pollen, which causes hay fever sufferers to cough, sneeze, and scratch their itchy eyes.

The grass pollen season usually follows a predictable pattern, peaking twice in the first half of June and early July. Despite this, many people are reporting unusually severe symptoms for this time of year.

Yolanda Clewlow, Met Office relationship manager for health and air quality, said in an interview with the Weather Snap podcast that there could be a reason for the spring’s unusually aggressive symptoms.

“In terms of pollen grains in the air, what we’re seeing isn’t particularly notable compared to previous years,” Yolanda said. The potency of these pollen grains, on the other hand, may be higher this year due to the spring weather.

“Because of the warm and wet May, as well as the relatively warm spring, there’s a chance that the pollen that has developed is particularly potent, even if the amounts aren’t drastically different.”

How to deal with hay fever

Keeping an eye on the pollen forecast and understanding how levels change throughout the day, according to Yolanda, is one of the best things you can do.

“Avoiding the stimulus is the best defense against symptoms,” Yolanda says.

“Avoiding pollen that you are allergic to can be extremely beneficial, and pollen levels in the air can vary dramatically throughout the day.”

“In the morning, a gentle breeze will lift the pollen off the plants, the warm air will carry it up, and it will be ideal for getting into our lungs in the mid-to-late morning.

“It’s worth noting that by the middle of the day, pollen has often been carried very high in the atmosphere, resulting in a much lower pollen count near the ground.” Then, as the air cools and the pollen settles, you’ll get that extra burst of pollen again later in the evening.”

Pollen forecast

Pollen counts are currently “very high” in southern parts of the UK, and this is expected to worsen over the next week as temperatures in some areas reach above 30°C.

Using the Met Office pollen forecaster, you can check levels across the UK.

Although many tree species have reached pollen apex, grasses – to which the vast majority of allergy sufferers are allergic – are still experiencing peak pollination waves.

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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