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The Pollen Count - What You Need to Know

If you suffer from hay fever, a high pollen count can ruin your spring and summer.


You’re almost certain to suffer from sneezing, a runny nose, itchy red eyes, a scratchy throat, wheezing, fatigue and even irritability as your immune system struggles to get rid of the invader.


To help you survive your seasonal allergies, here’s what you need to know about the pollen count. We’ve included six fascinating facts about pollen and hay fever then shared a few tips that can help you survive your allergies.


Six facts about the pollen count and hay fever

Fact 1: Pollen is made for reproduction

Pollen is a fine powder that is produced by trees, flowers, grasses, and weeds. Its purpose is to fertilize other plants of the same species. It can be carried from plant to plant by insects or by the wind. Pollination by insects is essential for the majority of our food crops. 

Fact 2: There are many different types of pollen

You probably associate a high pollen count with blossoming flowers and grass. But in fact, trees, grasses and weeds all produce pollen.

Of these, it’s the grasses and weeds that tend to cause the greatest problems because their pollen is light so carries on the air.

Larger flowers and trees should cause you fewer problems because they have heavier, stickier pollen that gets carried by insects such as bees. 

Fact 3: You might not be affected by a high pollen count

Just because the pollen forecast says that the pollen count is high that day, you won’t necessarily experience symptoms. It depends entirely on which type of pollen you are sensitive to.

That’s why it’s so important to be tested, either via your GP or by using one of the straightforward home testing allergy kits that we sell online and in your local branch.


Fact 4: Pollen is around all year

We tend to see a spike in hay fever in the spring as the weather warms up and flowering plants spring into blossom. But this isn’t the only time that people experience symptoms of their allergies.

Many notice their symptoms start as early as March, while others continue to suffer throughout the year. This is because plants pollinate all year, so, again, it really depends on what you’re allergic to.

Fact 5: If you’re allergic to pollen, you might be allergic to certain foods too

If you suffer from hay fever, you might also be sensitive to certain types of food. This is because the proteins in these plants are similar to those common allergens and so can trigger the immune system in the same way. Here are some examples:

  • Grass pollen: You may be sensitive to tomatoes, peaches, oranges, melons, and celery

  • Birch tree pollen: You may be sensitive to plums, pears, apples, carrots, celery, cherries, hazelnuts, kiwis, peaches, and almonds

  • Ragweed pollen: You may be sensitive to courgettes, cucumbers, melons, butternut squash, sunflower seeds, and bananas.


Fact 6: The pollen count varies through the day

Generally, pollen counts rise in the morning, peak at midday, and drop in the evening. They can also vary according to the weather- wind tends to increase the pollen count and rain tends to decrease it.

As they say, knowledge is power. Get yourself acquainted with the pollen count and learn which types of pollen trigger your hay fever so you can relieve your symptoms and feel like your usual self again.


For a range of products to treat your hay fever symptoms, please go to your local branch of Whitworth or check out our online store.