Yellow crop has been blamed for Shropshire hay fever rise
They are pretty as a picture – but rape seed fields were today blamed for a rise in hay fever.
The crop is turning parts of Shropshire yellow. But for those suffering from spring sniffles, they are nothing but an annual headache.
Last year 15 million people across the UK fell victim to the symptoms of hay fever and this year that number is expected to rise by a third to around 20 million.
Experts say they warmer weather can result in very high pollen counts which trigger symptoms within new sufferers. But modern crops like rape seed are also blamed for rising levels.
Shropshire pharmacist Yogesh Patel warned Shropshire's rural nature and the emergence of several new communities, particularly around Telford, could also make things worse. Speaking at Lawley Pharmacy, Mr Patel said: "The fact that it is a rural county, you do not have to walk or drive very far to be in the countryside and all these trees and pollen do make it quite distressing for hay fever sufferers.
"And as a community grows – such as here in Lawley – there are more pollutants from things like cars, dust from construction and this can all be allergen for hay fever sufferers and the symptoms can be worse for asthma sufferers."
He said, even though the link between rape seed and hay fever was yet to be fully established by scientists, many patients had noticed an increase in their symptoms at time when the crops are planted across Shropshire's large fields.
He said: "Driving through Shropshire you have huge fields and we are surrounded by rape seed fields.
"One of the things our patients have said is they notice that their asthma or breathing symptoms get significantly worse with the increase in rape seed.
"When you have got huge rape seed fields growing these crops already the pollen can result in hay fever symptoms and there may also be a link where nitrogen containing fertiliser is used to improve the crops – and that can also cause allergies."
To help prevent the months of suffering people are being encouraged to take action, stocking up on antihistamines and other treatments.
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