One in five people in Britain suffer from hayfever. Symptoms include frequent sneezing,
runny or blocked nose
itchy, red or watery eyes,
an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears,
and coughing caused
by postnasal drip which is the result of mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose.
Hay fever symptoms are likely to be worse if the pollen count is high - the
pollen count is the number of grains of pollen in one cubic metre of air.
Common ragweed - a highly allergenic plant - already the biggest cause of hayfever in the US
The onset of autumn generally spells relief for many hayfever sufferers however British scientists are fearing an extended season of runny noses and itchy eyes - the culprit being common ragweed. It is a highly allergenic plant that can release a billion pollen grains in a single season and is now the biggest cause of hayfever in the US.
The aggressive species came to the European mainland in the 1960's and has been spreading north ever since - it grows in late summer and early autumn but is generally killed off thanks to cooler weather during September. Scientists believe that it has been able to establish itself particularly well due to our late spell of warm weather. If it grows significantly enough it might be able to survive the winter and therefore will be a much bigger problem next year.
Pollen counts change on a daily basis and seasonally, monitoring pollen levels in the air is important in order to inform treatment for the millions of hayfever and asthma sufferers in the country.
Leicester University researchers fear hayfever season will be extended
Researches at the University of Leicester who have been monitoring pollen levels for 40 years. Last month, at their East Midlands recording site, they found signs of ragweed pollen on four consecutive days - reaching a high of 38. Only isolated cases have been reported before now and only generally on the south coast, never as far north as the Midlands. These cases have never created a pollen problem before now but the recording of 38 is high enough to cause significant hayfever attacks and problems for asthmatics. Experts have since warned asthmatics to make sure they have their inhalers with them at all times, given the increased risk.
Deborah Waddell, lead clinical advisor at Asthma UK, said: ‘The 79 per cent of people with asthma who find that pollen makes their symptoms worse may also be at an increased risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.
Pycnogenol® shown to substantially improve hay fever symptoms
If you're one of those suffering the misery of hayfever attacks an effective and natural solution comes in the form of Pycnogenol®. A study published in an issue of Phytotherapy Research demonstrated Pycnogenol® substantially improves the symptoms of hay fever by reducing levels of allergen specific antibodies in the body. Read the full article on Pycnogenol and its effects on treating hayfever.