Research carried out by the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit at Worcester University found that hay fever symptoms are twice as common in towns and cities, creating what is being dubbed ‘smog fever’.

What causes 'smog fever'? 

‘Smog fever’ occurs when a unique microclimate of dust clouds and lack of pollution eliminating winds and sunrays combine with high levels of traffic in urban areas, causing allergens to be trapped closer to the ground than normal.

Symptoms of 'smog fever'

As part of Allergy Awareness Week Specsavers is urging urbanites to pay attention to the symptoms of ‘smog fever’, which include red, inflamed, itchy, watery or streaming eyes.

Advice from Dr Nigel Best

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson, said: ‘We have definitely witnessed an increase in eye related hay fever complaints at Specsavers, particularly in city centre locations.’

‘At its worst the allergic reaction to smog fever can be conjunctivitis. In this instance, our own histamine (natural substance produced by body as a type of immune response) causes swelling and itching in order to alert and protect itself. If you are suffering from symptoms visit your local optometrist who can advise the best possible care.'

Top tips from Dr Nigel Best

1. Wear wide sunglasses to shield your eyes from airborne particles

2. Dilute inflamed eyes with general lubricating eye drops

3. Dry your washing inside to limit contact on clothing

4. Wash your hair before bed to prevent trapped allergens landing on your pillow

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