Why people in Norwich are suffering so badly with hay fever this summer

The Evening News spoke to Dr Iain Lake, professor at University of East Anglia, about hay fever.

The Evening News spoke to Dr Iain Lake, professor at University of East Anglia, about hay fever. - Credit: Archant / Iain Lake

Bleary-eyed city folk who are having to blow their noses every few seconds are reporting worse than usual hay fever symptoms this year.

But what exactly is making the public allergies so bad this year?

The Evening News spoke with Dr Iain Lake, professor of environmental science at the University of East Anglia (UEA), to find out.

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo ParkByline: Sonya Duncan

Kids might be enjoying the warmer weather - but it has made hay fever even worse

Why are more people suffering from hay fever this year?

Dr Lake explained: "A lot of it is down to this specific time of year,

"So at the moment grasses and nettles are producing pollen and it's being made worse by the warm weather we're having.

"It makes the plants grow more and therefore produce more pollen.

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"Something to bear in mind as well is that a lot of the pollen isn't going anywhere.

"With the lack of wind in the air in Norwich it just falls and sits in one place instead of being carried away.

"You can see it for yourself. If you look at the grass outside it's growing quicker than usual - you can sometimes even see the pollen.

"The best way to describe it is these little particles which either goes into the air or settles on the ground."

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo ParkByline: Sonya Duncan

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo Park courtesy of the unseasonably warm weather Byline: Sonya Duncan

What kind of plants are causing this wave of pollen?

Dr Lake said: "Different plants produce pollen throughout the year.

"So for example if you'd asked me in April I would have said poplar tress were one of the main causes but now they have already grown and settled.

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo Park
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo Park Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"I'm almost certain at the moment it's grasses and nettles which are producing the most pollen.

"Plants like dahlias and sunflowers will also be producing a lot of pollen at the moment."

Dr Iain Lake, professor of environmental science, at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Iain Lake, professor of environmental science, at the University of East Anglia. - Credit: Iain Lake

Why do symptoms feel worse this year than normal?

Dr Lake said: "I think it might be because it's a little unusual to such warm weather so early in the year.

"Having hot days like we are at the moment is something we would normally get later in the year - like July or August.

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo Park
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Children enjoying the splash pool at Waterloo Park Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"But because we've been having this weather in June it could be catching people out.

"I would recommend getting professional help if someone suffers really badly."

Fields of yellow flowers on Stoke Road, Stoke Holy Cross. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

High pollen counts are set to hit hay fever sufferers in Norfolk this weekend. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson