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   Mar 21

Bad news for hay fever sufferers: This year’s season will start a month early – and experts warn climate change could DOUBLE the number of sufferers

The season is expected to start three to four weeks early this year

It is predicted to hit southern England between March 25 and 28

It will then take another two weeks to reach Scotland and northern England

Climate change could double the number of British hay fever sufferers

For many hay fever sufferers, spring can be a mixed blessing.

With the benefits of longer days and warmer weather comes the misery of endless sneezing.

And the bad news for hay fever sufferers is that this year is going to be particularly bad.

Dr Jean Emberlin predicts that by 2060, between up to 70 per cent of people in England will have hay fever. Maps show (left to right) how the proportion of people with hay fever is expected to increase by 2009, 2020, 2040, 2060
According to experts, the birch pollen hay fever season will start much earlier than usual this year.

And over the next 50 years, the number of hay fever sufferers may double, they say.

Dr Jean Emberlin, Director of Pollen UK, predicts that this year the birch pollen hay fever season will hit the UK by the end of March.

She said: ‘This year’s birch pollen season is expected to start three to four weeks earlier than 2013 and is set to be a high pollen production year, with high or very high pollen counts occurring on warm, dry days with some wind.

‘Current indications for 2014 suggest that the birch season will start abruptly in the South and Midlands between March 25 and 28, but some sufferers may be in for an earlier hay fever hit as temperatures continue to rise.

‘There will be a short lag time of about two weeks when it will reach Scotland mid-April.

Pollen count is highest in central and south eastern England. It is much lower in Scotland and Wales

‘The South and Midlands will be the worst affected areas and the season is likely to last for approximately four weeks in each location.

‘Last year, the birch pollen season started nearly a month later around April 24, across the South and the Midlands and the season was below average severity across the season overall.’

Dr Emberlin says that Britain currently has one of the highest rates of hay fever in the world with about 25 per cent of the population suffering.

She added that the number of sufferers is likely to more than double to 32 million by 2030.

Speaking on behalf of Opticrom Hay Fever Eye Drops, she explained: ‘Climate change in the next few decades will have a notable impact on people’s health, especially for hay fever sufferers.

It is thought that this year the UK birch pollen season will start three to four weeks earlier than normal. Image shows a pollen calendar for the UK

‘This will have important consequences for the individual sufferer in the form of economic and social costs, together with decreased quality of life and exam performance.

‘The costs of absences from work and decreased productivity, together with the costs of remedies and GP consultations are estimated to be about £7 billion a year in the UK.

‘There is a high probability that climate changes over the next few decades will bring longer and more severe pollen and spore seasons which will, in turn, increase these financial and social costs significantly.’

Dr Emberlin said: ‘This year’s birch pollen season is expected to start three to four weeks earlier than 2013 and is set to be a high pollen production year, with high or very high pollen counts’

However, it is not all bad news as Dr Emberlin says there are things people can do to reduce their symptoms.

She says it can be helpful to avoid going outside when the pollen count is high – normally from early to mid-morning – and to avoid cutting the grass.

She says people can also benefit from wearing wraparound sunglasses to keep the pollen out of their eyes and to avoid drying laundry outside when the pollen count is high.

Source: Daily Mail


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