For many people across the UK, the arrival of spring is a mixed blessing. No sooner have they shaken off the winter gloom, than they’re hit with the onset of hay fever season. Characterised by a streaming nose and itchy eyes, the condition can range in severity from annoying to debilitating.
In actuality, ‘hay fever season’ is a bit of a misnomer – it all depends on what kind of pollen you’re allergic to. According to the Met Office, tree pollen season classically runs from late March to mid-May, grass pollen season from mid-May to July, and weed pollen season from June until September. (Despite what TS Eliot may have said, the cruellest month will vary from person to person.)
Of course, hay fever is a misery whenever it occurs, with potential to spoil what would otherwise be a blissful day outside.
“Hay fever is also called allergic rhinitis or seasonal rhinitis,” says Holly Shaw, nurse advisor at Allergy UK. “The majority of hay fever sufferers are affected by grass pollen, but there are different types of pollen that can cause hay fever depending on the time of the year.”
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