20% of the UK population suffers from hay fever. Research shows that pollen seasons are getting longer and more pollen-filled due to climate change, leading to allergy-sufferers dreading the beginning of hay fever season each year.
But, where and who in the UK suffers the most from hay fever? Where have people prescribed the most antihistamines in the UK?
Chemist4U found that 65% of hay fever remedies used are antihistamines globally. Taking an antihistamine is usually an allergy sufferer’s first-line approach, with the NHS website recommending taking antihistamines for at least three months before allergy season even begins.
Taking the three year average of antihistamine prescriptions in each local authority, Chemist4U calculated how many prescriptions are given per 100 people. Bridgen, Wales, was prescribed the most antihistamines, with 96% of people being prescribed.
Local authorities in Wales took the top three spots. Torfaen ranked second with just over half (54%) prescribed antihistamines, while Merthyr Tydfil came in joint third with East Lindsey (England), where half (50.5%) received prescriptions.
Where has the UK seen the highest number of antihistamine prescriptions in each country? Which month does each UK region order the most hay fever products?
To better understand hay fever seasonality and when Brits are struggling with their symptoms, Chemist4U looked at sales data of their hay fever products (including hay fever tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops) to see the biggest peaks in purchases.
England saw the most hay fever products purchased in June. However, Wales and Scotland do not follow the same pattern. Wales saw two peaks in sales – April and June – suggesting that in line with the Met Office’s pollen seasons, tree pollen aggravates allergies in Wales in April, and grass pollen is hitting sufferers in June.
Whereas, sales peaked in July in Scotland, suggesting that grass pollen is the most aggravating allergy for sufferers in Scotland.
James O’Loan, pharmacist and CEO at Chemist4U, comments: ‘We know how much of an impact hay fever can have on all allergy-sufferers, and with 20% of the UK’s population known to suffer from hay fever, it’s a season that many people dread each year.’
‘Our data highlighted Wales as one of the UK’s worst hay fever hot spots. Local authorities in Wales dominate the top rankings for where is prescribed the most antihistamines, but our product sales data also shows Wales to have two peaks – making it the only place in the UK to see the demand for hay fever medicine spike twice.’
‘Despite this, we know people from all across the nation suffer from seasonal allergies, especially with research showing we’re experiencing longer pollen seasons and higher levels of pollen. Luckily, there are plenty of remedies and medicines available to help ease your hay fever symptoms – from antihistamine tablets to nasal sprays. But, if your symptoms don’t improve after trying a hay fever medicine, we recommend you speak to your GP for further advice.’