Expert explains when hay fever is worst
Hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen from plants, grass and trees.
It can cause frustrating and at times debilitating symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, itchy throat and headaches.
In more extreme circumstances sufferers could experience shortness of breath and a tightness in their chest.
The condition becomes worse in the summer as pollen counts become higher in warm, dry weather.
It will also be affected by your location, with some parts of the country facing higher pollen counts than others.
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New research has shown specifically which parks in the UK are most and least likely to cause hay fever attacks.
Home health testing experts YorkTest, looked into the pollen levels of the 100 largest parks across England, Scotland and Wales.
As part of the research they analysed tree pollen count data over a four-day period.
Parks in Essex and London were among the areas with the highest pollen counts, whereas Scotland and Wales featured more heavily on the list of those with the lowest pollen counts.
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More specifically, Seven Sisters Country Park in east Essex is expected to have the highest tree pollen count which could prove frustrating for hay fever sufferers who live close to the cliffs.
Hatfield Forest in Essex came in second, while Naworth Park in Cumbria also has high levels.
In comparison Padarn Country Park in Wales was ranked as the lowest for pollen count.
Wimbledon Common in Greater London and Clyne Valley Country Park in Wales also had low pollen counts.
The full list of the highest pollen counts – in order – was:
- Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex
- Hatfield Forest, Essex
- Naworth Parks, Cumbria
- Mount Edgecumbe Country Park, Cornwall
- Bushy Park, Greater London
- Hampton Court Park, Greater London
- Ashton Park, Somerset
- Kinmel Park, Wales
- Cuerden Valley Park, Lancashire
- Greystoke Park, Cumbria
- Hampstead Heath, Greater London
- Yarrow Valley Park, Lancashire
- Windsor Great Park, Berkshire
- Moel Famau Country Park, Wales
- Pennington Flash Country Park, Greater Manchester
- Hylands Park, Essex
- Ranscombe Farm Country Park, Kent
- Vaynol Park, Wales
- Lyme Park, Cheshire
- Belhus Woods Country Park, Greater London.
And the list of parks with the lowest pollen counts were:
- Pardarn Country Park, Wales
- Wimbledon Common, Greater London
- Clyne Valley Country Park, Wales
- Dams To Darnley Country Park, Scotland
- Eglinton Country Park, Scotland
- Henham Park, Suffolk
- Sotterley Park, Suffolk
- Croxteth Hall and Country Park, Merseyside
- Lochore Meadows Country Park, Fife
- John Muir Country Park, Scotland.
Alison Orr, expert nutritionist at YorkTest, said: “For those with allergies, hay fever can be a stressful experience – wondering when your symptoms will be triggered, and if your antihistamines or natural remedies will help.
“Our research highlights where people might want to take extra precautions when visiting certain parks and prepare by taking the right medication that suits them.
“For those looking for herbal remedies to alleviate hay fever symptoms, this can include taking more frequent showers and regularly changing your clothes.
“Consuming natural anti-histamine foods such as strawberries, broccoli and kiwi may also help to lessen the severity of your symptoms.”
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- Sneezing and coughing
- A runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- Loss of smell
- Pain around your temples and forehead
- Feeling tired.
A pharmacist can help recommend treatments and medications for hay fever.
But if your symptoms are getting worse and do not ease with these treatments the NHS recommends speaking to your GP.
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