Achoo - bless you, it's Allergy Awareness Week

This year Allergy Awareness Week is focusing on Air Quality: the allergens around us - when thinking of airborne allergens most of us will immediately think of hay fever but it actually covers all airborne particles that cause any type of adverse reaction.  The particles that trigger such reactions are the pollen we expect, grass, tree and weed being the biggest culprits but other triggers such as house dust mite, animal dander and mould spores.  Unfortunately allergic rhinitis to give it its proper name is not necessarily seasonal with 46% respondents to an allergy UK survey* saying they suffer like this all year round, with 49% symptomatic in spring only and 45% in the summer months.
There is a link between poor air quality and allergies, in number and severity - that's not to say that pollution causes allergies but it does seem to have some correlation.  Knowing this is will come as no surprise to learn that allergic diseases such as rhinitis but also eczema and asthma have been increasing in frequency over the last 60- 70 years in western countries, including the UK.   

Fresh countryside air?
We imagine that trip out into the countryside will allow us to breathe in fresh, clean air but unfortunately we often bring our pollution with us, and even pollute the very air we've come to savour.  In some areas this is such a concern that there are active policies and plans in place to try to mitigate the damage; the South Downs National Park, for example, has a section of the local plan devoted to air quality, read it here.
They state: " In general, air quality in the National Park is good. However, there are concerns with regard to nitrogen dioxide emissions in certain areas of concentrated and congested traffic particularly diesel vehicles, be that from cars or heavy goods vehicles."
In July 2018 a research paper into Air pollution and visitation at U.S. national parks was published in Science Advances journal. The research was undertaken because there were serious concerns about air quality in these areas have led to strict, yet controversial pollution control policies.  You can read it here.

It's scenarios like this that led Allergy UK, the organisers of the week, to say this year: "We’ll be encouraging the public to get involved in activities such as travelling by public transport to reduce pollution, meal planning an allergen free menu and buying local so as to reduce air miles."

Current air quality

You can see the current, and forecast, air pollution levels and air qualityhere.
Allergy UK is the leading national charity providing support, advice and information for those living with allergic disease, who aim to raise awareness of the impact of poor air quality and the link between poor air quality and allergy. Click through to the website to access their range of information and see the support available it's rough living with allergies and sometimes you need all the help you can get.

*Read the report from Allergy UK's Hay Max survey here.