16 million adults in the UK suffer from hay fever, also referred to as "hayfever", “seasonal allergy”, “outdoor allergy” and “seasonal allergic rhinitis”.
What causes hay fever?
Hay fever is a result of an immune system that is overly sensitive to certain grass & tree pollens. Up to twenty-three percent of people in the UK suffer from hay fever. Traditionally, hay fever season begins in early spring and can last until autumn.
Pollen is the most common outdoor allergen. Pollen is lightweight and can easily become airborne. Pollen is also often transported unknowingly by insects and animals. Mostly, it’s the male plants of the species that produce the allergy-causing pollen. There are three main groups of pollen; tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen.
Tree pollens are usually the first to hit the “air waves”, starting earlier in the year. You may find it helpful to learn to recognise the specific trees in your area that give off the pollen that triggers your symptoms. You can use our UK allergy calendar to find out more about tree pollen and the other most common types including grass and weed pollen.