Published on Thursday, July 05, 2012
Hayfever sufferers may have thought that their suffering would be drawing gradually to its end this month, but the latest forecasts suggest that this is not the case. Experts have predicted that the hayfever season will last for up to a month longer than usual. Beverley Adams-Groom, from the National Pollen Research Unit said “We can expect this very changeable weather to extend the pollen season. We can see a continued risk for a long time yet.”
This extension of misery for Britain’s 16 million hayfever sufferers comes as a result of the very unsettled weather. The weather this summer has swung wildly between beautiful sunshine and periods of torrential rain. The three months between April and June were the wettest on record according to the Environment Agency and June itself was the dullest since 1909! The average rainfall in England and Wales was 6.18 inches, almost two and a half times the average between 1981 and 2010. These high levels of rainfall have meant that grasses and weeds have flourished and built up large stores of pollen. This excess pollen is then released during sunnier periods and spread around by the wind. Although the frequent rain suppresses the airborne pollen particles, it ensures that pollen production continues increasing, thus making the hayfever season longer and more intense than usual. It also means that on the few sunny days that we do get, pollen counts soar hugely. Readings this year have, at times, been as 200 grains of pollen per cubic meter of air (any reading over 50 is considered high). This is twice the levels seen in 2010 and 2011.
People have been suffering increased symptoms as a result of this. NHS Direct have received almost 20 per cent more calls from people suffering hay fever and allergy-like symptoms than in the same period last year. The Health Protection Agency also reported that there had been an increase in enquiries. Eye related problems were the most reported, especially in children. This is thought to be specifically linked to the increase in grass pollen.
Grass pollen is the ultimate cause for the majority of hayfever cases. Far more people are allergic to grass pollen than other types of pollen. Grasses have produced so much pollen this year due to the high levels of rainfall that they are expected to keep releasing it well into August this year. The grass pollen season usually ends at the beginning of July. Weeds have also had an excellent growing season and are expected to send pollen counts up even higher.
None of this is very good news for hayfever sufferers. You can check the pollen count on the Met Office website to keep an eye on levels in your local area. You can also give yourself great protection against pollen in your own home by installing a pollen screen in your window. Here at Window Screens UK we offer Pollen Screens for the home that provide a highly effective barrier against airborne pollen. Our screens block out pollen from your house and have the added bonus of preventing flies, wasps and mosquitos from entering too. We also offer Pollen Screens for caravans so that you can protect your family from pollen while enjoying your summer holiday.
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