Hay fever: could Brits unleash a 'Hay Fever Bomb' for allergy sufferers as No Mow May 2024 ends - treatment

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For those who suffer with hay fever, today could be a nightmare.

Today (1 June) marks the end of ‘No Mow May,’ the month-long initiative where many Brits collectively agreed to let their lawns grow wild in support of buzzing bee populations and blossoming wildflowers.

Now, armed with freshly fuelled mowers, garden enthusiasts - and local councils - across the nation are gearing up to transform their verdant jungles back into the tidy green carpets they once were.

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But, little do they know, they could be about to unleash a “Hay Fever Bomb” of epic proportions....

For the past month, lawns have flourished, turning suburban landscapes into miniature meadows. Dandelions, daisies and buttercups have thrived, creating a haven for bees, butterflies, and a variety of other pollinators.

Ecologically, it's been a win-win situation, with our gardens contributing to increased biodiversity, offering food and habitat for wildlife.

But as the mowers roar into life this morning, the serene beauty of these untamed lawns is about to give way to a sneeze-fuelled frenzy.

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Like a pollen apocalypse, as clouds of the stuff rise up, enveloping hay fever sufferers in a sneeze-inducing fog, today might just be the closest they’ve come to experiencing a horror movie.

How can you survive?

Before you rush outside today, let’s explore some survival tips for dealing with the hay fever bomb.

Make sure you’re armed with antihistamines. If you yourself are planning to mow, take them an hour before you do so. Over-the-counter options like cetirizine or loratadine are good choices, but consult your pharmacist for advice.

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You can also get over-the-counter hay fever eye drops, which are specifically formulated to relieve the itchy, watery and red eyes that often accompany hay fever and other allergies.

Clothing is important too. Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from airborne pollen, a hat to prevent pollen from getting into your hair, and a face mask to minimise the inhalation of allergens. Long sleeves and trousers also help protect your skin from contact with pollen.

If you’re taking the mower to the garden today, after you’ve finished, change your clothes and take a shower - this will help remove any pollen that has clung to you. Don’t forget to wash your hair too, as pollen can easily get trapped there.

A happy couple mowing - perhaps after No Mow May - unaware of the horror they're about to unleash on hay fever sufferers (Photo: Pexels)A happy couple mowing - perhaps after No Mow May - unaware of the horror they're about to unleash on hay fever sufferers (Photo: Pexels)
A happy couple mowing - perhaps after No Mow May - unaware of the horror they're about to unleash on hay fever sufferers (Photo: Pexels) | Pexels

No Mow June... and July..?

If you’re reading this as you stand poised with your mower, ready to take on the jungle that your lawn has become, consider giving it a little more time. Maybe just mow a path to the shed and leave the rest to grow a while longer?

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Hay fever sufferers will thank you, the bees will thank you, and who knows, you might just find that the wild look suits your garden (and your lifestyle) better than you ever imagined.

A manicured lawn might look neat, but it’s often a desert in terms of biodiversity. Wild lawns, on the other hand, provide a rich habitat for a variety of insects, birds and small mammals - essential for a resilient and thriving environment.

Embracing a wilder garden also means less time spent on upkeep and more time enjoying your outdoor space. Imagine sipping a cool drink on your patio, surrounded by the hum of the bees and the sight of colourful wildflowers.

Perhaps most importantly, a wilder lawn can also be better for your health, and spending time in a natural, biodiverse environment has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

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Will there really be a ‘hay fever bomb’?

OK, so the concept of a "hay fever bomb" is a bit of an exaggeration - we won't be seeing any pollen-induced traffic jams or sneezing stampedes - but it does have some basis in reality.

Lawns that haven’t been mowed for a month are likely to contain more mature plants with higher pollen content. Mowing the lawn can disturb these plants and cause a sudden release of pollen into the air - although it’s usually more dispersed, rather than a concentrated “bomb.”

But if many people in a neighbourhood mow their lawns simultaneously, the cumulative effect could lead to higher pollen levels in the air, especially on a dry, sunny day.

Local councils may also be joining the mowing frenzy, tackling roadside verges and public green spaces that have been left to flourish. Stay safe, hay fever sufferers...

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