Top Travel Destinations for Hay Fever Sufferers
The warmer weather and fresh blooms of spring bring mixed blessings for hay fever and rhinitis sufferers the world over. With hay fever numbers soaring in the UK, you won’t be alone in your quest for happy, sneeze-free holidays.
A report in the Daily Mail warns of a predicted doubling in the number of hay fever sufferers this year and a birch pollen hay fever season set to start a month earlier than usual. Dr Jean Emberlin, Director of Pollen UK, claims that with about 25 per cent of the British population experiencing hay fever, we currently have one of the highest hay fever rates in the world. And figures are expected to more than double by 2030 to around 32 million.
So what’s going on? Dr Jean Emberlin explains: “Climate change in the next few decades will have a notable impact on people’s health, especially for hay fever sufferers.” Other causes are believed to be the modern diet, plus the increasingly sterile environment in which we live, causing us to have weaker immune systems even against common allergens such as dust or pollen.
Travelling with hay fever
Planning your trip is vital as you’ll want to seek out the best holiday destinations to avoid symptoms and, of course, the hay fever season. Anywhere with plenty of lush grass and flowers needs avoiding while coastal and dry places are the best bets for pollen-free holidays.
Hay fever travel tips
- Pack your usual hay fever medications plus extra to cover for any travel delays or unexpectedly high pollen counts.
- During pollen counts of over 50, stay indoors as much as possible and keep doors and windows shut, even when travelling by car.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to help protect you against airborne pollen.
- Bring plenty of freshly washed clothes just in case you get covered in pollen spores.
Allergy UK provides full information on how to cope with allergies, including useful ideas on how to prevent hay fever and allergies.
Top holiday destinations
If you’re planning a trip away, before you book always check online for the latest information and the pollen seasons in your particular destination. Let us help you reduce your risk of hay fever and take you to a few of the most pollen-free holiday destinations in Europe.
1. The UK
Scotland and Wales are generally better for people with hay fever due to their shorter pollen seasons and higher rainfall. Moorlands, coastal areas and mountain terrain are lower risk because their vegetation is relatively free of allergens. Avoid grassy inland, lowland regions such as the Midlands, as well as the pollution of our big cities – latest research from Chemist Direct reveals that sales of hay fever products are greatest in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge, so try to avoid these.
Stick to the coasts for low to moderate pollen counts. Tempting as it might be, try to avoid sun seeking in Andalusia, at least until July because spring is notorious for high pollen counts from olive trees in the countryside and plane trees in the cities. The Canary Islands are perfect after June as their rocky terrain and sea breezes mean pollen counts are relatively low.
For low pollen counts, Portugal’s windy Atlantic coast and the Algarve should keep your nasal passages clear. The Estremadura, the North West and the Island of Madeira are also great places for avoiding hay fever as their keen winds and late but short hay fever seasons make managing symptoms far easier than in many other spots.
The further inland you go, the more lush the vegetation and the higher the pollen counts you’ll be exposed to – this also includes the popular tourist spots of the French Riviera in the South of France. Paris can have very high grass and tree pollen counts, while the lowest counts can be found on France’s windy western coasts and in the fresh, alpine air of the French Alps.
Stick to low pollen areas near the lakes of the north and on the west coast. The main places to avoid are the Po Valley and Naples, especially in May and June when pollen counts are at their highest. The hay fever season in Rome and Florence can also be long so it’s a good idea to consult the EAACI website for a forecast before you set off.
Hay fever travel insurance
You’d be mistaken to think that hay fever doesn’t require any specific mention when you take out your travel insurance. Travel insurance to cover your hay fever is a must if you are to be well prepared for your holidays as emergency costs can definitely mount up. It’s good to know you’re covered by a good travel insurance policy should you need to claim for treatment, loss, cancellation or more. With so many different types of cover on the market, it’s sometimes hard to decide which policy is best for you.
At Talk to TIM, we do the hard work for you. We compare policies from different providers to find you quality cover to suit your needs. That leaves you to get on with the fun things, like looking forward to your trip. Get an online quote from us today and see for yourself how easy it is to obtain quality, affordable travel cover. Alternatively, Talk to TIM free of charge on 0800 054 2252 – we look forward to helping you.
The information provided in this blog is non-advisory and merely meant as a general guide to the matters covered in our articles. For more information, please consult a professional advisor.
All travel insurance provided by Talk to TIM is subject to agreement from the underwriters. Terms and conditions apply, details of which can be found within the relevant Policy Documents.