20 May 2013
Rising pollen levels are exacerbating symptoms for 15 million hay fever sufferers throughout the UK. Additionally, figures indicate that a rising number of city dwellers are suffering from the condition.
Pharmacists in small towns and metropolitan areas alike have noticed a rising amount of inquiries for hay fever medication. Just this month, they report 50 per cent more requests for over-the-counter treatment, including antihistamine tablets, eye drops and nose sprays.
According to nationwide figures, London is the worst place in the UK for hay fever, with Birmingham coming second and Manchester in third place. Cambridge, Leicester, Leeds, Reading, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Brighton also made the list of allergy hotspots.
Scientists think oak or plane tree pollen may be causing the increase in hay fever, as both peak around this time of the year. Alternatively, “there is some evidence to suggest that pollution, such as cigarette smoke or car exhaust fumes, can make the symptoms of hay fever worse, which could explain why more city dwellers are now suffering from hay fever”, said Chemist Direct’s Omar El-Gohary.
Additionally, the snowy, frigid spring experienced throughout most of the UK could be making things worse. Hay fever expert from the University of Worcester, Professor Roy Kennedy, said: “The cold spring means a later start for pollen, with a pollen burst now in a condensed period, and the phenomenon of several pollens likely to peak at the same time.”
One-off allergy testing is recommended for hay fever sufferers to pinpoint which substances are triggering symptoms.
Posted by Edward Bartel
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