Hay fever season has come early due to mild winter

Hay fever season has come early due to mild winter
Hay fever season has started early due to the mild weather. Credit: Belga/ Saskia Gremmelprez

While many people may currently have a sniffly nose due to the many winter colds going around, others may soon have runny noses due to hay fever.

Due to the mild weather in late December and early January — this week will still be particularly mild, with highs of around 12°C — the hay fever season has already kicked off, as the first alders and hazels have already started flowering, online weather platform Meteovista announced on Thursday.

"The mild weather will encourage the development of plants that respond to higher temperatures in nature. After the cold first half of December, temperatures have risen considerably. This stimulates the flowering of nature's early bloomers," a notice on its website read.

The rain is staving off the worst for now as the rain washes the air clean, but people sensitive to pollen from these trees may start developing symptoms during dry periods, especially if the wind blows alder and hazel catkins into the air.

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As there is no prospect of cold winter weather at the moment, nature's development will continue, however, if cold winter weather does return later in January or in February, nature will once again go dormant, meaning any symptoms of hay fever will temporarily subside.

However, if temperatures remain autumnal, birch trees that mainly flower in April could already start blooming in February and March, rapidly followed by grass pollen season. Both are highly allergenic and can cause a lot of nuisance for people sensitive to these pollens.

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