Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Summer Is a Misery for Thousands of Sufferers

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Summer Is a Misery for Thousands of Sufferers

Article excerpt

Byline: By Victoria Philpott

Summer is a time for enjoying long days in the sun, but not for the UK's nine million hayfever sufferers. Victoria Philpott looks at how allergies can ruin the summer

Hannah Warner knows only too well the pain and unpleasantness of streaming eyes and a runny nose.

While everyone else is having fun in the sun she is sneezing and wheezing.

Hannah, 21, from Durham, suffers from hayfever. Otherwise known as Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. She has endured it for more than 17 years: "I have had hayfever ever since I can remember, even at nursery I suffered with it. At school I could never take part in sports days or play on the field with everyone else. I was left on the playground with the dinner lady."

Philosophy student Hannah is just one of a quarter of the population of 11-21 year olds who have hayfever. She suffers extreme symptoms, including fatigue and difficulty breathing. She says: "Around the time of my GCSEs it was awful, the stress of exams coupled with a really hot summer meant my eyes were so gunky they were sticking together in the exam room."

However, the name hayfever is misleading. It has absolutely nothing to do with hay and a fever is not a symptom. Hayfever is an allergy to pollens. Pollen causes the release of histamine, which is what causes the reaction. As trees and flowers blossom at various times so does the pollen. Most people, like Hannah, are allergic to grass pollens, though later on in the year weed pollens and fungal spores still cause problems. Because of the cold winter the birch trees released their pollen early this year and hayfever season has already started.

Hannah's mother took her and her sister, also a sufferer, to the doctor when they were young. Allergies such as hayfever tend to run in families and Hannah's father suffers mildly when the pollen count is high. …

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