Frequently asked questions: Allergy information
An allergy is where the body has an adverse reaction to a usually harmless substance called an allergen. Allergens include pollen, house dust mites, pet dander (e.g. tiny flakes of dead skin), food, amongst others.
Hay fever is a type of allergy where the immune system overreacts to pollen, causing the release of a chemical called histamine. This results in symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose and watery eyes.
One of the most common forms of allergy is provoked by tiny particles suspended, unseen, in the air that we breathe. These could be from:
House Dust mites
This condition known as allergic rhinitis is also often referred to as 'airborne allergy'.
Allergy symptoms vary greatly from person to person and even from one experience to another. To a certain extent, the symptoms depend on the allergen to which you have been exposed and the parts of the body that are affected.
Click here to find out more about how different allergies can affect different parts of the body.
The time of year you experience symptoms will depend on the type of allergy you suffer from. Hay fever sufferers will most likely experience symptoms in spring and early summer as trees pollinate between March and May and grass and flowers follow in May and June. Other allergy sufferers such as those who have a pet allergy can suffer all year round.
The calendar shows the general situation in the UK. The exact timing and severity of pollen seasons will differ from year to year depending on the weather and also regionally depending on geographical location.
Try to avoid cutting the grass or ask a non-hay fever sufferer to do it instead, as grass pollen can trigger hay fever.
Information supplied by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit. University of Worcester.