Coming to a field or town near you, hay fever as it's commonly known, now affects millions of people right across the UK for most of the summer months.
In fact have you noticed the allergy weather reports now? Hay fever symptoms include headaches, irritated eyes, watering eyes and a stuffy nose. Worst case hay fever may even include depression and insomnia.
Hay fever is actually an allergic reaction to pollen and to airborne spores. The nature of the symptoms and when they arise varies based on a persons sensitivity to that particular type of pollen or spores. Those allergic to tree pollen can often find symptoms kicking in during early Spring and continuing through to May when trees cease their production of pollen. If you ssem to suffer only in late summer, then you are probably allergic to weed pollen and fungal spores.
Unfortunately, a lot of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollens. These reach significant levels in mid May lasting right through to September - although they are at their worst in June / July.
During a hay fever season, sufferers experience symptoms when pollen counts (defined as the number of pollen counts found in a cubic metre of air) reach 50. High pollen counts can be exacerbated by humid and windy days when spores can be carried further from their source.
Sufferers usually manage their condition using sensible behaviour and some medication. For example, simply keeping the car and room windows closed or not going on trips outside on humid and windy days. You can also go the extreme and banish certain plants from your garden and wash your dog or cat to clear pollen from their fur.
There are a complete range of medical treatments now available, ranging from anti-histamines, steroids and decongestants through to complementary and homeopathic treatments. These have been shown to be particularly effective for some in recent medical trials.