What are the different types of pollen and which are most common?

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

The Met Office has issued a ‘very high’ pollen count alert for many parts of the UK this week, meaning misery for most hayfever sufferers.

“Bad news for hayfever sufferers as pollen levels are ranging from moderate to very high today,” the Met Office warned on social media, much to the dismay of those with allergies.

According to the five-day pollen count, there might be little respite until next week, with very high pollen counts expected to continue.

The high pollen count will also spread to Scotland, meaning that, unfortunately, there are few places to hide for hayfever sufferers this week.

The news comes as the UK braces for warm weather into the weekend after a colder-than-normal start to June.

At least one in four people in the UK is thought to have some degree of hayfever, and 90 per cent of those are allergic to grass pollen. Given that now is grass pollen season, it might be best to stock up on antihistamines in preparation for the next few days.

But there are also other types of pollen you should know about.

Hayfever can be serious for some people (Andrew Matthews / PA)
Hayfever can be serious for some people (Andrew Matthews / PA)

What are the different types of pollen?

Pollen is a type of powdery spore that’s released by plants and trees as part of their reproductive cycle. These minuscule particles travel in the air and on insects and can be inhaled by humans.

Unfortunately, they can also be pretty irritating for people who are allergic. People will likely feel the symptoms if the pollen count is higher than 50 grains of pollen in one cubic metre.

Alongside grass pollen, there is tree pollen and weed pollen and these categories contain roughly 30 types of pollen that can trigger hayfever.

The type of pollen in the air depends on the time of year.

For example, early summer is commonly known for grass pollen, whereas most tree pollens are released earlier, around March to May.

What is the most common type of pollen?

The most common type of pollen is grass, which studies have found more than 90 per cent of hayfever sufferers are allergic to.

Around 25 per cent of people are also allergic to tree pollen – the second-highest category of pollen that triggers allergies.

What type of pollen is high in the UK?

We are in the throes of grass pollen season, which the Met Office says should end by mid-July. It's at its highest when the temperatures are between 18°C and 28°C and if it's a dry, breezy day.

The weather also affects the pollen count, so chances of rain in the next few weeks may offer some respite for those suffering from hayfever.

How do I know which pollen I'm allergic to?

Its best to first familiarise yourself with common hayfever symptoms (like a runny nose and itchy eyes), to make sure its actually what you’re suffering from.

Healthline says the best way to identify what pollen you’re allergic to is then by scheduling a meeting with your doctor.

Your GP may perform a skin-prick test to identify what type of allergies you have, and run other tests to check if its hayfever or something else.

Kleenex also offers a free interactive quiz.