Britain's First Hay Fever Map Could Help You Keep the Sniffles at Bay

By dmeikleham on at

If you’re blighted by allergies, summertime – regardless of how brief the British variant is – can suck. Around 10 per cent of the British public suffer from asthma, and 80 per cent of those people are also likely to be affected by a pollen allergy. So it’s good news the intrepid science-y folk over at the University of Exeter have produced a series of maps highlighting areas in the UK where common allergenic vegetation grows. In basic terms, a bunch of super detailed hay fever maps. 

These maps cover a variety of British cities and countryside, with a particularly detailed one for London. 12 different types of vegetation are documented, spanning varying grass types, nettles and trees. Do your nostrils start to run like an Olympic sprinter at the merest whiff of heather? Best stay away from Ashdown Forest in East Essex.

The University of Exeter's study concludes "there is a need for detailed and robust pollen-related health impact information". (Image: Science Direct)

The University hopes the maps will help hay fever and asthma sufferers decide which areas to avoid visiting. Speaking to the Guardian, epidemiologist Dr Nicholas Osborne says they could also  assist doctors in tracking down what particular strains of pollen spark asthma attacks.

These maps display the location of four allergenic weed types in Britain. (Image: Science Direct)

“We hope that these maps will contribute to ongoing research that aims to better determine when plants pollinate, allowing us with time to provide better warning to allergy and asthma sufferers to enable them to better manage their disease,” says Osborne.

You can find the full extent of the University’s studies on these sniffle-triggering trends (as well as hi-res versions of different hay fever maps) over at Science Direct. Now, can anyone pass me several dozen hankies?