The 爱游戏app苹果下载 produces the Pollen Forecast for the whole of the UK in conjunction with the Met Office. 为什么爱游戏app会得可怕的花粉热? 贝弗利·亚当斯-格鲁姆博士, Chief Palynologist (pollen specialist) and Pollen Forecaster at the 科学与环境学院 explains why we get hay fever and what we can do to monitor pollen.


Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy and Dopey – this is how you feel when you’ve got an attack of hay fever. Happy - when you haven’t got hay fever and, if you have it bad, you may need to see the Doc.

花粉热可不是闹着玩的, though, being thoroughly debilitating and causing reduced quality of life, 到处都带着酸, 红眼睛可能会让你害羞. Approximately one fifth of the UK population are affected by hay fever, with more than three million affected by allergen-triggered asthma. The main culprits are pollen and fungal spores but the typical symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat can be caused by many other triggers too, 如室内尘螨粪便, 宠物皮毛和皮屑, cigarette smoke, scented candles, perfume, 打印机墨水和蟑螂. 

Pollen allergens are actually proteins embedded within the grains. When they hit onto the mast cells inside the nose, they trigger the release of histamine in sensitised individuals. Histamine is there to ward off invaders and its release causes itching, swelling, sneezing and mucous production – all those annoying symptoms which combine to make you feel like most of the seven dwarves rolled into one!


Only a few pollen types typically trigger hay fever because to get up a sufferer’s nose the pollen must be produced in high quantities and be able to get airborne easily. Grass pollen is the most common hay fever trigger in the UK, affecting around 95% of hay fever sufferers. 其次是桦树花粉, 影响大约25%的患者, followed by Oak, Alder, Hazel and a few others (no wonder Sneezy was snuffling – he lived in a forest surrounded by them!) These, very widespread, plants are pollinated by the wind and have small, light pollen that can easily become airborne. The flowers are indistinct on these plants – usually arranged on catkins dangling down, sometimes referred to as ‘lamb’s tails’.

Most flowers are pollinated by insects and have pollen that is textured and often sticky so that it can easily cling to the insects’ bodies and be distributed from flower to flower. Insect-pollinated pollen is usually heavy, produced in much lower quantities than wind-pollinated types and rarely becomes airborne. Many people suspect that oil-seed rape pollen causes their hay fever because they notice huge fields of bright yellow flowers. In fact it is usually birch or oak pollen that is causing their symptoms, which occur at the same time but are not all obvious.

pollen grains
A collection of grass pollen grains through a microscope

Pollen seasons are variable and therefore the production of pollen forecasts is important to enable sufferers to be prepared for the season. The amount of pollen produced and dispersed in any one season depends on a number of weather and climate variables, 包括季前赛和季前赛. For example, a cold, dry spring will reduce the amount of grass pollen produced and also cause a late season onset, while a warm, wet spring will encourage high grass pollen production and an earlier onset. If we have high pollen production coupled with warm weather in-season, then pollen counts can be very high and hay fever sufferers will be very Sneezy and extremely Grumpy. Very wet summers lead to Happy hay fever sufferers since the pollen struggles to get airborne.

Current research is looking at ways of producing more detailed forecasts and real-time pollen monitoring:

详细预测:直到最近, grass pollen types (family or species) could not be separated from one another during pollen monitoring using microscopy because they are so morphologically similar. However, new DNA techniques are able to analyse the pollen in the air and determine when specific grass types are in season. Work is also ongoing to produce models for highly detailed pollen forecasts, something which is not currently available for the UK. This is all very useful because the type of grass to which individual sufferers are affected can vary substantially. Forecasting according to grass type allows sufferers to get to know which ones they are affected by. Similar work is also being conducted for other pollen types, such as oak and for a fungal spore allergen called Alternaria.

Real-time pollen monitoring means pollen grains are detected and counted by a machine connected to the internet and the data sent immediately out to the public. There are now several laser detection machines that are being trialled by scientists at the 爱游戏app苹果下载.

pollen plant

Hay fever and asthma sufferers can follow the pollen forecast, 也被称为花粉计数, to find out which pollen types are in season or coming along soon.

All of the UK’s pollen forecasts come from the 爱游戏app苹果下载, 与英国气象局合作, and are produced by experts in the School of Science and Environment. More information on specific allergens can be found on our 花粉预测页面

贝弗利·亚当斯-格鲁姆博士 works at The National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit in the 科学与环境学院 to monitor and provide the Pollen Forecast for the UK. If you are interested in the science behind the pollen forecast you may be interested in our science degrees. We also offer tours of our Pollen Labs as part of our Open Days.

All views expressed in this blog are the Academic’s own and do not represent the views, policies or opinions of the 爱游戏app苹果下载 or any of its partners.