Hay fever sufferers have been warned that misery will soon set in as the tree pollen count is currently very high across all of England, Wales and parts of Scotland. However, following the incoming “pollen bomb” this week, forecasters have predicted that spring showers are expected to “dampen down” the pollen count, providing some relief to those suffering all week across the UK.
Birch trees releasing near-record amounts of pollen are causing immense suffering for millions of Britons who are experiencing hay fever.
According to the Kleenex pollen forecasting service, there has been a significant increase in the number of people checking the service between March 15, when hay fever season starts, and Sunday, compared to the same period last year.
The company also reported a 139 percent rise in the number of people taking their quiz to learn more about their hay fever symptoms during this time.
According to the Met Office weather data, the national pollen forecast predicts a high pollen count for the majority of Britain this entire week, with many areas seeing hay fever warnings this Friday.
Only Northern Ireland, Highlands & Eilean Siar and Grampian will experience moderate pollen count today.
Those lucky enough to live in Orkney & Shetland will not have to worry about pesky hay fever symptoms as all week the pollen count is predicted to remain low.
The West Midlands and South West England will experience a very high tree pollen count on Friday, this includes pollen from birch, plane, willow, ash and oak, and it is the highest rating available from the Met Office.
Wales will experience some relief by the weekend, with pollen count returning to low by Friday.
With some sporadic rain showers, however, pollen counts can “dampen down”, according to British Weather Service Senior Meteorologist Jim Dale.
He said: “Along with rain it dampens it down. Every cloud has a silver lining.”
Most hay fever sufferers are sensitive to grass pollen, which typically starts in May and reaches its highest levels in June and July.
Although the current emphasis is on tree pollen, which only affects a small number of people, it can still cause severe symptoms of hay fever for those who are allergic.
Yolanda Clewlow is the Met Office’s Relationships Manager for Health & Air Quality, and the UK Pollen Forecast Manager.
Speaking to the Weather Snap podcast, she said: “We’re constantly monitoring what’s in the atmosphere and what might be coming, in terms of pollen in the air.
“We look at a very broad picture for the pollen outlook, including the weather in the previous year when pollen is formed on some plants to make a judgement on how bad a season might be for pollen release.”
As of now, the primary concern is on birch pollen, with anticipated exceptionally high levels, particularly in England and Wales.
Yolanda added: “Tree pollen is the main factor in the forecast at the moment, and this week, with more settled conditions, we’re expecting a large amount of birch pollen in the air, but these different types of tree pollen in the air will shift as we head towards summer.”