Hay fever map of Britain reveals worst allergy areas

A hay fever map of Britain may help people avoid areas that trigger their symptoms.

Scientists at the University of Exeter have developed a new, highly-detailed map of the UK containing the location of key plants and trees known to produce pollen that causes allergies and asthma.

The maps, produced in collaboration with the Met Office, may help acute hay fever or asthma sufferers manage their symptoms.

And it could even help people to decide where to live or which areas to avoid at peak times when pollen is released.

Credit: Met Office/University of Exeter
Credit: Met Office/University of Exeter

Around 80% of people with asthma also have a pollen allergy, and in the UK around 10% of the adult population is affected by asthma.

In 2001, 13% of people in the UK were diagnosed with hay fever.

Dr Nicholas Osborne, an epidemiologist and toxicologist, said the maps would help doctors narrow down which pollens are most likely to trigger asthma attacks.

"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," he said.

Dr Rachel McInnes, from the Met Office, added: "By working towards a localised, species-level forecast, vulnerable people can better plan their activities and manage their condition.

"While these allergenic plant and tree maps do not provide a forecast of pollen levels, they do provide the most likely locations of grass and of tree species which are the source of most allergenic pollen."