Tuesday 16 July 2019

No respite in sight for sufferers of hayfever

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Aoife Walsh

Hayfever suffers can expect the pollen count to remain at high risk into late July, a weather expert has warned.

Met Eireann have forecast a high risk of pollen presence throughout the weekend, and have warned the public that spores which trigger asthma will be trigged by humid nighttime conditions.

Chief Palynologist and Pollen Forecaster of Worcester University, Dr Beverley Adams-Groom said; "The pollen forecast is high because the weather is currently suitable for pollen release - dry and sunny - and we are in the middle of the main grass pollen season when high counts can be expected.

"The season started in mid-June but we have only had intermittently high days since then due to showery weather occurring at times".

Groom said the weather forecast is slightly unusual this year because the peak started "a little later than average."

"We can expect the high risk to continue into late July, weather permitting," she added.

Worcester University, whose National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit provides Met Eireann with the daily pollen forecast, found that July is a peak time for allergens from grass, nettles, and docks to be airbourne.

Grass, which is part of the Poaceae pollen family, impacts 95 pc of hayfever suffers.

The researchers also found that on a warm, dry, sunny day with a high pollen count, hayfever suffers are mostly at risk from half of the morning and from about 4pm in the afternoon until late evening.

Dr Paul Carson of Allergy Ireland told the Independent.ie that his clinic has had a surge of hayfever-related appointments booked over the past two weeks.

"It began to trickle out towards the end of June, but we have seen an increase over the past two weeks. Next week we are fully booked for almost all hayfever related appointments," he said.

In June, Met Eireann urged the public to be prepared for the risk of thunderstorm asthma which occurs if storms hit on a day with a high pollen count, causing symptoms of an asthma attack.

However, Dr Adams-Groom said despite the continuing high risk status, hayfever suffers will not be faced with another thunder attack for the rest of the summer season.

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