Spring heatwave creates havoc for hay fever sufferers

The best spring weather for decades has resulted in one of the worst bouts of hay fever in recent years with sufferers creating extra high demand for relief sprays and medicines.

While the extra sunshine and lack of the traditional spring cold snaps have led to a 20-year record strawberry harvest the extra pollen being created has caused havoc for the UK’s estimated 10-11 million hay fever sufferers.

Since the beginning of March Tesco pharmacies have seen a 40 per cent increase on the same time last period year in sales of relief tablets and sprays.

Demand is overwhelmingly strong in the counties of Kent and Essex, and regionally in East Anglia, as well as the southern counties, the London area and then the Midlands.

Kent and Essex are by far the counties with the most sufferers seeking help with five towns each in the UK’s top 20 for buying the most relief remedies.

Said Tesco pharmacy spokeswoman Joy Wickham: “While most of us have been enjoying the warmest spring start for reportedly 20 years an average of one in six of the population are suffering hay fever.

“This is the earliest start to the hay fever season we have seen for a long time and it has meant that we have had to order in extra supplies in order to cope with the unexpected demand.

“Normally we wouldn’t start seeing demand grow until around the end of May.

“The south east seems to have got it the worst with demand particularly high in Kent and Essex. We are making sure all our pharmacies across the region are well stocked.”

What’s made this year particularly bad for sufferers is that the recent long dry spells have encouraged bees to make more pollen.

To make matters worse strong breezes during spring have helped spread the pollen easier and further than usual. Experts also believe that the winds have blown over large quantities of pollen from continental Europe.

Heather Champion is pictured in the Rose Garden, at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, as Pollen levels hit an all time high.

Sufferers normally start getting symptoms in May but this year demand for anti-hay fever cures has started in March, far earlier than in recent memory.

Hay fever

“Hay fever is a condition that causes the inside of the nose to become inflamed. It affects the sinuses, throat and eyes” said Tesco Superintendent Pharmacist Adrian Price. “The condition cannot be completely treated but there are a number of treatments available to treat the symptoms such as antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays, and eye drops.”