Hayfever season 'may start next month'
The hayfever season start as early as next month triggered by the cold winter, experts have warned.
A cold winter encourages birch trees to pollinate early, Prof Jean Emberlin, director of Britain's National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit said.
And for many people with hayfever symptoms tree pollen is the main problem.
She said: “The timing of pollen release will vary and is highly dependent on the harshness of the preceding winter. Birch trees need cold weather to lift them from dormancy; if this does not occur and we have a mild winter then pollen arrives later by up to two weeks.”
Prof Emberlin added: “Birch trees tend to pollinate more heavily biannually (every other year) and this year, 2010 is a year when it is likely to be high. This year it is anticipated the birch pollen will start arriving in March with very high counts in many areas.”
Traditionally hayfever symptoms start to appear in the Spring but there have been warnings that the season has shifted and is now 11 days earlier.
The statement was issued by the makers of Zirtek, an antihistamine used to treat hayfever.
A spokesman for the charity, Allergy UK, said: "It is quite possible that we will see people reacting much earlier than they would normally. We can provide advice on diagnosis and treatment for symptoms."