Hay fever sufferers may want to stay indoors this weekend as forecasters warn of a ‘pollen bomb’ bringing some of the highest levels of tree pollen this year.
The warning comes from Kleenex and Allergy UK, who have launched a new ‘Pollen Pal’ tool that provides a three-day pollen count forecast to help hay fever sufferers.
London, Leicester and Nottingham will be hardest hit, with pollen concentrations almost twice as high as other “pollen-rich” regions.
The Met Office, which produces a regional forecast for Britain, says its data points to low to medium pollen counts for most of the country this weekend.
In contrast, data from the new Kleenex pollen forecast released today, which includes more local data per postcode, shows pollen levels will be high across the country this weekend, particularly for tree pollen.
London, Leicester and Nottingham will be hardest hit, with pollen concentrations almost twice as high as other “pollen-rich” regions
Hay fever sufferers may want to stay indoors this weekend as forecasters warn of a ‘pollen bomb’ bringing some of the highest levels of tree pollen this year
How can you treat hay fever?
vaseline: Apply the jelly around the nose to trap pollen particles
nasal filter: They form a physical barrier between the pollen particles and the nasal mucosa
air cleaner: Household appliances remove pollen particles from the air
eye drops and pills: They contain antihistamines to reduce inflammation
immunotherapy: The process involves consuming the allergen over several years to build up the body’s tolerance
There are thought to be 13 million hay fever sufferers in the UK with varying sensitivities to different pollen types who would benefit from regular forecasting.
Allergy UK says sufferers who want to enjoy the long Easter weekend should wear a hat, use an allergen barrier balm and carry a pack of tissues.
This is not surprising as we are fast approaching peak pollen season, but forecasters say tree pollen levels are expected to be particularly high.
Pollen load severity is measured in pollen grains per cubic meter (PPM), with a value of 200-703 being considered high for tree pollen and anything above 704 being very high, explained Allergy UK.
The Kleenex pollen forecast that provided the pollen bomb alert is one of the most regionally accurate pollen tracking tools available, the company claims.
It provides a detailed pollen count for all 1.7 million postcodes across the UK three days in advance.
According to Kleenex, this allows hay fever sufferers to schedule days with pollen dates specific to their local city, rather than using a broad national forecast.
However, when asked about the discrepancy between their relatively low to medium pollen count and Kleenex’s high forecast, the Met Office said it could be due to differences in the types of pollen traps used.
The Met Office said several companies in the UK are using American traps that have been found to be producing suspicious data because they do not use standard counting methods.
A spokesman said the pollen season has not really started and the forecast for the weekend is relatively cool, so it shouldn’t have a major impact on hay fever.
London is showing a high tree pollen forecast, although other types of pollen are not expected this Easter weekend
The data comes from Ambee, which collects information from pollen traps across the country.
They also look at the local weather that day and different types of trees, weeds and grass in a given area.
“The Kleenex pollen forecast provides unmatched insight into local pollen concentrations and should be of great help to anyone struggling with allergies,” said Ori Ben Shai, Vice President and General Manager of Kimberly-Clark UK, the maker of Kleenex.
The warning comes from Kleenex and Allergy UK, who have launched a new ‘Pollen Pal’ tool that provides a three-day pollen count forecast to help hay fever sufferers
LONDON, LEICESTER AND NOTTINGHAM ARE TO CONTACT WITH HIGH POLLEN COUNTS
Pollen load severity is measured in pollen grains per cubic meter (PPM).
A tree pollen reading of 200-703 is considered high and anything above 704 is considered very high.
Select regions with current high tree pollen forecasts for the UK on Good Friday are:
- Belfast: 302ppm
- Birmingham: 349 PPM
- Bristol: 355 PPM
- Glasgow: 220 PPM
- Leeds: 275ppm
- Leicester: 358ppm
- Liverpool: 486 PPM
- London: 377 PPM
- Manchester: 222ppm
- Nottingham: 420ppm
“We recommend that anyone with hay fever symptoms check pollen levels in their zip code daily to ensure they are able to prepare appropriately.
He added that they “don’t have to hide indoors while the sun is out.”
The introduction of Pollen Forecast comes as Kleenex renews its partnership with Allergy UK to support hay fever sufferers in the UK during the peak allergy season.
The partnership funding will allow Allergy UK to redirect additional resources to its hotline to ensure those truly struggling with their symptoms have access to expert support and guidance.
Amena Warner, Head of Clinical Services, Allergy UK, said: “Despite the expected increase in pollen levels this Good Friday, most hay fever is manageable if you take the necessary steps to prepare.”
Warner said there are a number of steps sufferers can take to minimize symptoms if they decide to go out in the spring sunshine.
“Consider your wardrobe choices,” she said, adding, “Accessories like hats and wrap-around sunglasses can help prevent pollen from reaching your face, hair, and eyes.”
Allergy UK advises sufferers to use an allergen barrier balm around the base of the nostrils and around the sunglasses as it creates a barrier to airborne allergens.
“Plan your daily excursions carefully. Always check the Kleenex™ pollen forecast before you leave home,” Warner said.
“Daily monitoring of pollen levels can help you plan ahead to manage your symptoms.”
They also recommend always carrying a pack of tissues, adding that Kleenex Allergy Comfort tissues carry the Allergy UK seal of approval and are designed to be gentle and extremely absorbent for use around watery eyes and runny noses. “
Bad news for hay fever sufferers: Climate change could worsen allergy season by up to 60 percent, a new model predicts
People suffering from hay fever could be in for a worse time in the future as a new study shows that climate change could worsen allergy season by up to 60%.
A team of scientists from the University of Worcester created new statistical models to predict the changes in pollen count with changes in air temperature and precipitation.
Based on long-term assessments examining annual changes in pollen concentration, they determined that climate change would have a significant impact.
Lead author Alexander Kurganskiy says projected climate changes could increase allergy season severity by up to 60% from current levels.
There is hope that by being able to predict risk and understand possible changes, people with allergic rhinitis can prepare for the pollen season to reduce exposure.