This year in the UK the pollen count has been sky high lasting for a much longer period than we are used too. Mr Defender suffers dreadfully from hayfever his eyes are sore and itchy, his throat also is closed and all of his nasal system is affected as though he has a heavy cold. So I thought I’d research what is going on – for a country which is full of beautiful vegetation and a world which is full of sufferers – I feel we don’t know anything about this fine powdery stuff which is one of the most common allergies in the world!
Firstly what is pollen ? Pollen is a fine powder emitted by plants, trees, weeds and flowers. It acts as a fertiliser for other plants of the same species. They release the pollen into the air and through the winds and air flows it is dispersed to other plants of the same species.
Why does it affect humans (and animals!) ? When pollen is inhaled the immune system identifies it as an attack and starts to generate chemicals which fight off the pollen. This is the key cause for the typical symptoms we experience such as watery eyes and stuffy airways.
When does the pollen start ? The Met Office offers the explanation that the pollen season can be divided up into three sections. 1.Tree Pollen March – mid-May. 2. Grass Pollen mid-May – July. 3. Weed Pollen – June – September.
Why is it so bad at the moment ? Key factors in the severity of pollen count is the weather. In the UK the weather has been mild and sunny promoting pollen release into the air. This combined with the calm air and lack of rain means the pollen remains airborne for a longer period of time affecting allergy sufferers for much longer.
Most importantly we need to remember that the seasons are not set in stone and it is very weather dependent. Keep an eye out on the forecast and see what the pollen counts are looking like during pollen season.
How to reduce the suffering ?
Wear sunglasses at all times both inside and outside of the house to stop pollen getting at your eyes.
Shower and change your clothes once you get home from work or from being outside to get rid of any excess pollen.
Try and stay indoors when possible and shut windows and doors to avoid any pollen from getting inside.
Hoover and dust with a damp cloth to get rid of any excess pollen.
Stop your pets from climbing on furniture and beds where you will be sleeping as they could have pollen caught up in coats. I know they’re our pride and joys but they might be stopping you from sleeping well and triggering night time symptoms!
If you’re not sure which pollen is affecting you contact your GP and ask for an allergy test then you can pinpoint what’s going on and attempt to reduce the symptoms. You can then take progressive measures such as getting an injection prior to the season to help immunity and getting tablets which help.
Other sites which have useful information include;