Sneeze in the City - Experts at Chemist Direct Report Rise in Urban Hay Fever

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Chemist Direct Pharmacist Omar El-Gohary discusses the possible reasons for the surge of hay fever sufferers within cities and suggests ways to help prevent and treat it.

Hay Fever

Hay fever incidences now occur more frequently in cities

Research suggests that pollution can make allergies worse, which could explain why so many more city dwellers are now suffering from hay fever.

After a cold start to Spring, the hay fever season has finally arrived, but pharmacists at Chemist Direct have reported a boom in the number of people living in cities requesting treatment.

Experts at the online pharmacy have analysed thousands of sales of hay fever products across the UK during May, and found that for the first time London came out on top, followed by Birmingham and Manchester. In previous years, demand has been scattered across rural and urban areas.

“This year we’ve been seeing a lot more people living in towns and cities asking us for advice”, said Omar El-Gohary, Superintendent Pharmacist for Chemist Direct.

“Research suggests that pollution, such as cigarette smoke or car exhaust fumes can make allergies worse, which could explain why so many more city dwellers are now suffering from hay fever.”

One of the most common causes of hay fever in early May is oak or plane pollen - a particular problem in big cities where stunning plane trees line the streets. However, the delayed Spring has meant pollen is also being released from other trees – such as the willow – at the same time.

Experts at the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit believe that this is creating a perfect storm for sufferers triggering sneezing, itchy, red and watery eyes, and a runny nose.

“The mixed spring has been something of a double edged sword for sufferers. While for some the symptoms are worse when it’s sunny, others have found the wet weather has not helped, as it keeps the pollen at ground level preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere”, added El-Gohary.

Pharmacists at Chemist Direct advise sufferers to take an antihistamine such as Loratadine (79p for 30 tablets), once symptoms start, to shower and change clothes at the end of the day, and to wear wraparound sunglasses to help prevent pollen getting into their eyes.

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Samantha Smith
Chemist Direct
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