A 'pollen bomb' is forecast over the Easter weekend

Bad news for hay fever sufferers! A ‘pollen bomb’ is forecast over the Easter weekend with cities including London, Leicester and Nottingham experiencing the ‘highest levels of the year’

  • The new Kleenex Pollen Forecast looks at pollen counts on a per postcode level
  • They say this will help those with hay fever better plan any time spent outdoors
  • The forecast warns of particularly high levels of tree pollen across the UK  

Hay fever sufferers may want to stay indoors this weekend as forecasters warn of a ‘pollen bomb’ bringing with it 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, giving a three day pollen count forecast to help hay fever sufferers.

London, Leicester and Nottingham will be among the worst affected, with almost twice the concentration of pollen as will be seen in other ‘high pollen’ regions.  

The Met Office, which produces a regional forecast for the UK says their data suggests a low to medium pollen count for most of the country this weekend.

In contrast, data from the new Kleenex Pollen Forecast, launched today, and taking more local data per postcode, shows that pollen levels across the country this weekend will be high, especially for tree pollen. 

London, Leicester and Nottingham will be among the worst affected, with almost twice the concentration of pollen as will be seen in other ‘high pollen’ regions

Hay fever sufferers may want to stay indoors this weekend as forecasters warn of a ‘pollen bomb’ bringing with it 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 filters: They make a physical barrier between the pollen particles and the nasal membrane

Air purifiers: The home appliances remove pollen particles from the air

Eye drops and tablets: They contain antihistamine to reduce inflammation

Immunotherapy: The process involves consuming the allergen over a number of years to build the body’s tolerance

There are thought to be 13 million hay fever sufferers in the UK with varying levels of sensitivity to different pollen types who would benefit from a regular forecast. 

Allergy UK say sufferers planning to go out to enjoy the long Easter weekend should wear a hat, use an allergen barrier balm and carry a packet of tissues with them. 

This isn’t surprising as we are about to move towards peak pollen season, but the forecasters say tree pollen readings are forecasted to be particularly high. 

The severity of pollen levels is measured by Pollen Grains Per Cubic Metre (PPM), where a reading of 200-703 for tree pollen is considered high, and anything above 704 very high, Allergy UK explained. 

The Kleenex Pollen Forecast, that supplied the Pollen Bomb warning, is one of the most regionally accurate pollen tracking tools available, the firm said. 

It provides a detailed pollen count for all 1.7 million postcodes across the UK three days in advance.  

The firm says this enables those with hay fever to plan days out using pollen data specific to their local town or city, rather than a broad national forecast. 

The data is sourced from Ambee, which collates information from pollen traps across the country.

They also look at local weather on the day and on different types of trees, weeds and grass in a specific area.

‘The Kleenex Pollen Forecast offers unrivalled insight into local pollen levels and should be a big help for anyone struggling with allergies,’ said Ori Ben Shai, Vice President and Managing Director, Kimberly-Clark UK, makers of Kleenex.

The warning comes from Kleenex and Allergy UK, who have launched a new ‘Pollen Pal’ tool, giving a three day pollen count forecast to help hay fever sufferers

LONDON, LEICESTER AND NOTTINGHAM TO FACE HIGH POLLEN COUNTS 

The severity of pollen levels is measured by Pollen Grains Per Cubic Metre (PPM). 

A reading of 200-703 for tree pollen is considered high, and anything above 704 very high. 

Selected regions with currently high tree pollen forecasts for the UK on Good Friday include: 

  • Belfast: 302 PPM 
  • Birmingham: 349 PPM 
  • Bristol: 355 PPM 
  • Glasgow: 220 PPM 
  • Leeds: 275 PPM 
  • Leicester: 358 PPM 
  • Liverpool: 486 PPM 
  • London: 377 PPM 
  • Manchester: 222 PPM 
  • Nottingham: 420 PPM

‘We recommend that anyone with hay fever symptoms check pollen levels in their postcode daily to ensure they can prepare appropriately.

He added they ‘need not hide inside while the sun is shining.’

The launch of the Pollen Forecast comes as Kleenex renews its partnership with Allergy UK to help support the UK’s hay fever sufferers through peak allergy season.

The partnership funding will allow Allergy UK to divert extra resource towards its helpline to ensure those really struggling with their symptoms are able to access expert support and guidance.

Amena Warner, Head of Clinical Services, Allergy UK, said: ‘Despite the expected spike in pollen levels this Good Friday, most hay fever is manageable if you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself.’  

Warner said there are a number of measures sufferers can take to minimise symptoms if they do decide to go out in the spring sunshine.

‘Consider your wardrobe choices,’ she said, adding ‘accessories like hats and wraparound sunglasses can stop pollen from reaching face, hair and eyes.’

Allergy UK advise sufferers try using an allergen barrier balm around the base of the nostrils and around sunglasses, as it creates a barrier to airborne allergens.

‘Schedule your daily outings carefully Always check the Kleenex™ Pollen Forecast before leaving the house,’ said Warner.

‘Monitoring pollen levels daily can help you plan ahead to manage your symptoms.’

They also recommend always carrying a pack of tissues, adding that the ‘Kleenex Allergy Comfort tissues hold the Allergy UK Seal of Approval and are designed to be gentle and ultra-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 per cent, new model predicts 

People suffering from hay fever could be in for a worse time of it 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 forecast the changes in pollen severity as air temperature and rainfall changes.  

Based on long-term assessments looking at year-to-year changes in pollen concentration, they found that climate change would have a significant impact.

Lead author Alexander Kurganskiy says projected changes in the climate could increase allergy season severity by up to 60% over current levels.

It is hoped that by being able to forecast the risk, and understand potential changes, people with allergic rhinitis can prepare for the pollen season to reduce exposure. 

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