Rare pollen spotted in Leicester could signify further hayfever misery

Posted by er134 at Sep 26, 2014 12:15 AM |
University researchers observe ragweed in air for the first time in forty years

2014 has been a particularly bad year for the millions of hayfever sufferers across the UK and now it looks set to get even worse after scientists at the University have observed a rare type of pollen in the air, at levels not seen for more than four decades.

Ragweed, which grows in the late-summer and early autumn, is one of the main triggers of hayfever and asthma symptoms in North America and Central Europe, but due to our cooler climate, is rarely spotted in England.

However, earlier this month, scientists from the University’s Aerobiology and Clinical Mycology research group noticed ragweed in the air for four consecutive days reaching record levels and at one point, the level was so high that it would have triggered hayfever and asthma symptoms in individuals allergic to the pollen.

The research was led by Dr Catherine Pashley from our Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation.

Ragweed requires a mild autumn and a late winter frost to allow its seeds to establish and if this happens, it is likely the group will observe even higher levels next year which could lead to an extended hayfever season, lasting well into the autumn, which would cause further misery for the 20 per cent of the population affected annually.