UK Pollen Calendar: your complete guide to hay fever season

It’s hay fever season… and this is an event we’re not celebrating. If you have to deal with hayfever allergies, you’ll know all about the sneezing, wheezing and streaming eyes that can come with this otherwise glorious time of year — and you’re probably not a fan, either. Not sure when your symptoms are going to strike? It’s not easy to track, but it’s usually spring and summer. If you’re one of the unlucky few, you might have hay fever all year round (and you’ll have our sympathies, too).

We’re here to help you put away the tissues and breathe freely. We’ve put together a handy guide of the different types of pollen, plus a pollen calendar to help you pinpoint what you could be allergic to. Ready? First, a rundown…

Hay fever in the UK

  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis: this is when you suffer from hay fever and allergies during a certain time of year — usually spring and summer.
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis: this is when you suffer from allergies and hay fever symptoms all year round.

If you suffer during the usual hay fever season — ranging from March to September — you could be allergic to fungal spores or pollen from trees, grass or weeds. The symptoms are the same for all of these allergies, but you might only get some of them.

Hay fever symptoms:

  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Loss of smell
  • Pain around your temples and forehead
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Feeling tired

If you don’t know exactly which type of pollen or fungal spores you’re allergic to, you might be able to figure it out by tracking what time of year you get symptoms. The pollen season is different for various trees, grasses and weeds. Check out these common types of pollen species you might be allergic to — and we’ll get into these shortly.

Common pollen species:

  • Hazel
  • Alder
  • Birch
  • Oil seed rape
  • Plane
  • Oak
  • Grass
  • Nettle family
  • Plantain, Ribwort
  • Dock weed
  • Mugwort

When is hay fever season in the UK?

Tree pollen season

Grass pollen season

If you find you’ve not experienced hay fever symptoms during these peaks, that doesn’t mean you’re not allergic, sadly. It might just mean that the effects of the pollen are masked by how wet, dry, warm or cold it is.

Weed pollen season

Pollen types month by month

Hay fever in January

  • Alder: Closely related to hazel, hornbeam, oak and chestnut and usually grows close to water. Keep an eye out by streams and rivers. Its pollen season spans mid-January to mid-April and peaks around March.
  • Yew: This is a conifer tree with bright red berries. Its needles, bark and seeds are highly toxic to humans. The yew pollen season starts in late January and runs to late April, with its peak being the end of February to the middle of March.

Hay fever in February

  • Willow: Often found in wet environments by riverbanks and lake shores, it’s closely related to apsens, cottonwoods and poplars. Its pollen season starts in February and comes to an end in April, with its peak in March.

Hay fever in March

  • Ash: Grows up to 35 metres and its pollen can travel up to 110 metres from the tree. Its pollen season is March to May, with the peak being in April.
  • Plane: Common in urban areas and over half the trees found in central London thought to be of this species. Its season ranges from March to May, with its peak being late April to early May.
  • Oak: Around 20% of allergy sufferers are allergic to oak pollen. Its usual pollen season is between April and early June, but this can vary by up to a month. The peak season is in April or May, depending on when its pollen season started.
  • Birch: The pollen from this silvery-barked tree affects about 25% of hay fever sufferers. Its pollen season spans March to June, peaking in April.
  • Oil seed rape: You’ll recognise the bright yellow flowers from picturesque country walks — it’s the most common food crop grown in the UK, mainly to produce oil. Its pollen season is March to July, peaking from April to early May.

Hay fever in April

  • Grass: The biggie — this is the one to watch out for. As we said earlier, most people (around 95%) who suffer from hay fever have an allergy to grass. There are around 150 species in the UK alone and their pollen season can start as early as April, and go all the way through to the beginning of September. The pollen peaks around the first two weeks in June, then again at the beginning of July.
  • Plantain: Not to be confused with the type of banana you cook with, this is a weed that you can find in grassland, roadsides and cultivated grounds. Plantain’s pollen season lasts from April through to August, peaking around June.

Hay fever in May

Hay fever in June

  • Nettle: Another weed that can cause havoc with hay fever, especially on warm, dry days where there’s a gentle breeze. Its pollen season runs from June to early September with peaks in late June, early July and again in mid-August.
  • Mugwort: Great name (very Harry Potter-like), but tough to deal with — this is yet another weed that can be found in wasteland, embankments and meadows. Its pollen season runs from late June to early September, peaking in July.

Hay fever in July

  • Mugwort
  • Nettle
  • Dock
  • Plantain
  • Grass
  • Lime

Hay fever in August

  • Grass
  • Nettle
  • Dock
  • Mugwort

Hay fever in September

Regional pollen

Got it? Now that you’re up-to-date on hay fever seasons, you’ll be able to stop symptoms before they start. No need to thank us — we’re just glad to help.

If the pollen season has caught you out, browse our range of allergy and hay fever relief tablets, sprays and more. Order them today for delivery tomorrow — that’s hay fever season sorted.

Millennial, Photographer, Struggling Entrepreneur.