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Weed pollen and seasonal fungal spores

Mugwort and food allergy 

Mugwort is a species of plant usually categorised as a weed, which can be found in wasteland, embankments and meadows in the UK. Its pollen season is generally between mid-June to late August, with pollen release peaking between July and August. 

People with mugwort pollen allergy are commonly also allergic to celery. There is also an association between mugwort allergy and allergies to mango, pistachio, carrot, broccoli, peach and apples, among others. 

For more information on pollen food syndrome please click here.  

Nettle Pollen 

Grass and tree pollens aren’t the only pollens that can trigger hay fever or asthma symptoms. Other types of pollen that emerge in the summer months include nettle, which is typically released in July, and other weed pollens, which are most common in August. 

Urticaria is also known as ‘nettle rash’ or ‘hives’. This condition consists of wheals - spots or patches of raised red or white skin - each of which usually clears away in a few hours to be replaced by other fresh wheals. Urticaria is very common and affects one in five people at some point in their lives.  The more common type of urticaria rash (hives) lasts up to 24 hours, produces larger wheals and may not completely clear for several days.  It sometimes occurs together with swelling of various parts of the body (angioedema) - typically the face, hands and feet, although anywhere may be affected. 

Nettle allergy is a common cause of contact urticaria, but it can also cause allergic rhinitis (Hay fever) symptoms due to the fact that nettle pollen is fine and carried by the wind.  

For more information on hay fever, please click here

Pollen forecasts and calendars

Monitoring the pollen count can help with decisions on outside activities, e.g. exercise and when to start taking medication. There are number of ways to get the latest pollen forecast including websites and apps, also television or radio during the spring/summer - (Met Office Pollen Forecast). 

Click here for regional pollen calendars from the University of Worcester. 

Mould 

Mould spores are also released during the summer into the autumn months and can particularly affect those with respiratory allergy such as asthma or hay fever. They are part of the fungi genus (family). 

Outdoors, most moulds live on dead vegetable matter – typically found in compost heaps, piles of fallen leaves in the autumn, or dead branches and damp timber structures such as the retaining walls of raised beds, made from sleepers.  

Fungi reproduce by spores that are released into the atmosphere - creating extremely fine particles that, when breathed in, can reach beyond the nostrils down into the lungs. Mould spores are even finer than pollen particles and fill the air from spring till late autumn.  

For more information on moulds and fungal spores, please click here

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