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Pollen Count

Pollen CountA pollen count is generated by measuring the number of pollen grains in a given volume of air, using a pollen trap. In pollen counts, all pollen is treated the same. A count of 50 pollen grains or less is considered low, and a count of 1,000 pollen grains or more is considered high. The risk to you will depend on which plant pollens you are allergic to. Pollen count can significantly help to manage asthma and hay fever.

FAQ about Pollen Count:

Are pollen forecasts useful?
What effect does time of day and weather have on pollen count?
When is the pollen/hay fever season?
What is thunderstorm asthma?
Which plants cause a high pollen count?
Can diet and pollens react with one another?

 

Are pollen forecasts useful?

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A pollen forecast is based upon current pollen counts and information on the weather and time of year. The start of the pollen season can now be predicted quite accurately. These forecasts can be your guide to when to start taking antihistamines or extra asthma treatments.

What effect does time of day and weather have on pollen count?

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Pollen counts tend to be higher in early morning and late evening, although they can sometimes be high all day long. If the grass is damp, the pollen peak will be later in the morning because the water evaporates before the pollen is released. Some grasses release their pollen in the afternoon. Pollen rises in the air during the day and then descends at night, as the air cools. In rural areas, the evening peak tends to occur between 6pm and 9pm but in the city, where the air stays warmer for longer, the pollen descends later and levels tend to peak between 9pm and midnight or even later, which is why you may wake up sneezing in the night. Sunny days favour higher pollen counts and rain tends to wash the pollen away. On a cloudy day, pollen builds up only to be released on the next sunny day.

When is the pollen/hay fever season?

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The pollen season is the same for the hay fever season. The pollen season is different for different plants but it usually lasts from early Spring to late Autumn. A harsh winter will delay the start of the pollen season. Here is what to expect:

First out is tree pollen from mid to late March to mid-May. The season for each tree species lasts three to four weeks. These trees (listed from early to late with respect to their season) are associated with pollen allergy:

  • Hazel
  • Alder
  • Poplar
  • Ash
  • Birch
  • Oak


Next is the grass pollen season, which begins in mid-May and ends in July. The most common pollens associated with allergy in the UK are:

  • Foxtail
  • Oat
  • Dogstail
  • Timothy
  • Meadow grasses


Finally, the weed pollen season overlaps and extends beyond the grass pollen season – from the end of June to September. The exact duration depends upon the species of weed.

  • Dock weed has the longest pollen season, beginning in early Summer and finishing in mid-Autumn
  • Ragweed season runs from August to November
  • Nettle
  • Sorrel


Each plant produces as many as a billion pollen grains per season. It is a very powerful allergen with only minimal exposure often producing an attack.

The amount of pollen released by trees, grasses, and weeds depends upon temperature and amount of sunlight, so will vary from season to season. Allergic attacks tend to happen in the city a day or so after pollen is released from its source in the countryside. Even though pollen travels, levels are still usually higher in rural areas than in the city.

What is thunderstorm asthma?

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Pollen grains may rupture in the high humidity before a storm breaks releasing lots of tiny starch granules. These are inhaled, often attached to diesel exhaust particles in urban areas, and may trigger an asthma attack at around the time when the thunder starts to rumble. Thunderstorm asthma tends to occur in people who have hay fever but do not usually suffer from asthma.

Which plants cause a high pollen count?

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Grass pollen allergy is more common than tree or weed pollen allergy. Grass pollen grains are relatively large and tend to affect the nose and eyes more than the lungs. Wind-pollinated plants with small flowers are the main cause of pollen allergy. The wind carries the tiny grains of pollen on air currents and pollen may be found at a great distance from its plant source. Insect-pollinated plants, which tend to have bright flowers, are less likely to cause problems, but always heed pollen warnings on cut flowers like lilies. Check the following list for plants whose pollen could be causing you an allergy problem:

  • Trees: Ash, Birch, Cedar, Chestnut, Cypress, Elder, Elm, Hazel, Oak, Poplar, Sycamore, Walnut and Willow.
  • Grass: Dogstal, Fescue, Foxtail, Meadow, Oat, Rye, Timothy and Vernal.
  • Weeds: Dock, Mugwort, Nettle, Plantain, Ragweed, Sorrel, Wall and Pellitory.

Can my diet and pollens react with one another?

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At different times of year it is believed that certain foods consumed can react with pollens in the air - making your allergy symptoms worse. The foods that can react with pollens are as follows:

  • Pollen from Birch can react with: Celery, curry spices, raw tomato, raw carrot, apples, pears and kiwi.
  • Pollen from grasses can react with: Oats, rye, wheat, kiwi and raw tomato.
  • Pollen from weed can react with: Raw carrots and curry spices.
  • Mould can react with: Yeast

Related Products:

Pollen Allergy ReliefADS Dust SprayMiele C3 Allergy PowerLineBlueair 450E

Pollen Count Information | Pollen Count Explained & FAQs Articles

Male Trees and Allergies

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male trees and allergies Pollen is produced by the male parts of a plant and contains potent allergens which can cause hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) in some people. The symptoms of hay fever include runny nose, blocked nose and sneezing. Bouts of hay fever can seriously interfere with work, study and social life....

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Why is my hay fever worse when it rains?

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Hay fever worse when it rains If you have seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) then you will be well aware that there is a hay fever season, when you will suffer symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and blocked nose - all as a result of an allergy to pollen. But it's not just the hay fever season that matters, it is also the weather on the day.

Pollen counts actually tend to be lower on rainy days. Why? Because rain washes pollen out of the air.

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