Warmer UK climate triggers early allergy alerts and brings the threat of new pollens

The mild, if distinctly wet, winter and spring means the UK’s Met Office has already issued warnings for birch pollen this week. Birch pollen is described as ‘highly allergenic’ by Asthma UK and can trigger allergic symptoms in up to 16% of people. Most commonly, birch pollen will cause hay fever, but it can also trigger allergic asthma, conjunctivitis and even pollen food syndrome (a sensitivity to plant-based foods that can cause a severe reaction).

Unfortunately, this is likely to herald a bad year for allergies, warns a leading expert. Mild weather and a lack of frost mean grass pollens – the main cause of hay fever in the UK – look set to arrive as early as this month, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

That’s not the end of concerns about the impact of climate change on UK pollen levels. Higher overall temperatures mean new plant species are arriving from warmer countries, introducing new potential allergens for people who have not been previously exposed to their pollens.

Dr Avinash Hari Narayanan (MBChB), Clinical Lead at London Medical Laboratory, says: ‘Britain’s warming climate means we all need to get used to an earlier start to the hay fever season and to prepare for new pollens from warmer climates, as new species of plants and trees move northwards.

‘A new study published in the journal “Science of the Total Environment” has analysed rising temperatures in central England over the last 52 years and their impact on allergenic pollen. It has found rising temperatures have been associated with earlier seasons and increasing intensity for some pollens.

‘With rising overall pollen levels and the arrival of new species, it’s important everyone knows their own potential allergy triggers. In rare cases, these responses can lead to anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening reaction.

‘How can we learn which pollens and substances may trigger each of us as individuals? A single finger-prick blood test will identify a wide array of potential allergic triggers, including pollen, pet hair and both plant and animal-derived allergens. For example, London Medical Laboratory’s Allergy Complete is the UK’s most comprehensive allergy test, analysing 295 allergens.

‘Allergy Complete covers not just typical British trees, but many non-native varieties too. These include pollens from trees as diverse as Arizona cypress and mountain cedar, the latter being a notorious trigger for “cedar fever” allergy in parts of America. It can be taken at home through the post, or at one of the many drop-in clinics that offer it across London and nationwide in over 120 selected pharmacies and health stores.

For full details see: https://www.londonmedicallaboratory.com/product/allergy-complete

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4367 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.