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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    Climate change, pollen booms and worsening hay fever

    Climate change, pollen booms and worsening hay fever

    Posted on March 27th, 2024

    Looking forward to dining al fresco this summer? If you’re one of the estimated 13 million people in the UK who suffer from hay fever, the answer is probably not! Although we often associate hay fever with a runny nose and itchy eyes, the reality for many sufferers is much worse. It can cause real sinus discomfort, it can seriously disrupt sleep, and it can leave the sufferer feeling fatigued, therefore impacting all aspects of their life. It can also worsen respiratory problems in people with asthma. And according to recent research, it’s a problem that is set to get worse. Read on as the experts at YourGP explain what you can do to limit the impact of hay fever this year.

    The signs and symptoms of hay fever

    Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen. The signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, but some of the most common complaints associated with the condition include:

    • Coughing and sneezing
    • Itchy, watery eyes
    • Runny or blocked nose
    • Sinus discomfort
    • Headaches
    • Skin rashes
    • Tiredness

    It’s that time of year again…

    Hay fever can affect people at different times of the year. Some people suffer most between March and May when trees release pollen, some suffer from May to August when grass releases pollen, and others suffer in late autumn when weeds release pollen.

    This year, however, things are a little different. The relatively mild temperatures we experienced in February triggered a ‘pollen boom’, kicking off hay fever season much earlier than previous years, and this year’s hay fever season is predicted to continue until October.

    It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, thanks to climate change. Findings cited by the UK Health Security Agency have shown that rising temperatures will see high pollen counts starting earlier in the year. And it’s a problem that’s expected to affect more and more people. According to recent research from Allergy UK, around 49% of people reported suffering with hay fever symptoms. And a study led by the University of Manchester also indicates that it particularly affects those living in urban areas.

    Practical solutions to help keep hay fever at bay

    There are several steps you can take to reduce the effects of hay fever:

    • When outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes
    • Apply Vaseline to the bottom of your nostrils to help trap pollen before it enters your nose
    • Shower as soon as you come inside and change into clean clothes
    • When inside, keep windows closed
    • Vacuum regularly to minimise the build-up of pollen indoors

    Need extra help? Ask your GP

    There is a range of over-the-counter medications available at your local pharmacy which can help to minimise the effects of hay fever. This includes tablets and nasal sprays, but the efficacy of these can vary from individual to individual.

    YourGP, however, may be able to provide something more effective. Options include a steroid nasal spray or immunotherapy treatment given by injection.

    To find out what treatment is most suitable for you, book an appointment at YourGP. Just email, or call us on 0131 225 5656 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that suits you, so you can enjoy the summer, no matter how high the pollen count reaches.

    Needed to arrange an offshore medical fairly quickly and they fitted me in the same day. The entire experience from initial enquiry to consultation was first class! I would highly recommend YourGP in Edinburgh to anyone looking for superb service and professional healthcare. I will certainly be using them from now on.

    Stuart F

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 |

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.