If you love nature but also want to find out how you can enjoy the Spring and Summer and embrace the outdoors whilst minimising the effects of your hay fever read on…

Simple tasks like going for a walk, run or gardening when you have hay fever can become almost impossible during the hay fever season.

Just being told to take antihistamines, stay indoors with the windows shut and avoid all those glorious spring and summer evenings is soul destroying… but it might not be the only tactic available.

BBC Countryfile diaries commissioned a special programme, specifically about the rise in season allergies to tree pollens to explore why we are seeing so many more people with hay fever and what people might be able to do to prevent too much suffering.

Filming BBC Countryfile Diaries Seasonal Allergy special with Keeley Donavan

Filming BBC Countryfile Diaries ‘Seasonal Allergy special’ with Keeley Donavan

Please all set your recorders to tape Countryfile Diaries on Monday 20th May at 9.15 am, just after the news.

Boy am I showing my age there. Do people still ‘tape’ things any more? ?

If you don’t work then you can watch it live and it will also be available on catchup for anyone who misses it.

I can’t tell you anything at all about it…or I’d have to kill you, just that I have a starring role with the beautiful weather girl from Look North, Keeley Donovan, in a special programme about seasonal allergies. There was also a very knowledgeable garden advisor who explored our jungle of a garden for potential high pollen plants and trees and had loads of useful advice.

I’m allergic to birch and hazel tree pollen and also to grass so usually pretty much hay fever all year for me :( and if it’s not hay fever it’s dust!

Tree pollen allergies can also cross react with some fruit which is called oral allergy syndrome. This can cause itching, irritation and a rash around the mouth, face and lips if you eat certain foods that the body identifies as similar to the tree pollen you’re allergic to.

You can find out more about oral allergy syndrome or pollen food syndrome on the Allergy UK website.

I also found this useful “Chart with pollens and their cross reactors” on the Allergic Living website.

Oral Allergy: Plants, Foods That Cross-React chart from Allergic Living

Oral Allergy: Plants, Foods That Cross-React chart from Allergic Living

This explains why I also have problems with celery and tomato, both causing me quite unpleasant reactions, but not the risk of anaphylaxis, thankfully. Oral allergy syndrome, whilst being painful and inconvenient for many, is not life threatening. These are not technically allergies, like my diagnosed allergies to nuts, dairy, wheat and soya, but I still avoid them like the plague because the reactions I get are pretty horrible.

You can read more about this in, “Surely you can’t have hay fever all year round?” in my allergy diary for Foods Matter.

I learnt so much from just an afternoon and have so many things that I can now try to do to reduce the effects of my hay fever.

I will be telling you all what I learnt after the programme in a future blog “20 things you can do to reduce the effects of hay fever” .

You’ll all just have to watch it to find out how to enjoy the summer in your garden whilst reducing and minimising the pain and frustration of hay fever.

Don’t forget, it will be on Countryfile Diaries on BBC1, 9.15am, after the news on Friday 20th May.



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website http://whatallergy.com/ and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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