WITH summer here, many people are looking forward to long golden days basking in the searing sun and intense heat.
But for a lot of folk, it is not that pleasurable – far from it. It is the season of discontent and torture, blighted by frequent sneezing, a blocked nose and inflamed eyes.
We are, of course, talking about hayfever.
The dreaded allergy, sparked by tree, grass or weed pollen, occurs in the spring and summer and affects millions of people across the country, including 32-year-old cleaner Karen Hancock, of Boythorpe, in Chesterfield.
“It is a bit of a nightmare,” said Karen, who has suffered from hayfever since the age of 12. “If I go anywhere, I have to check the pollen count every morning.
“I’ve just been on holiday to Turkey and went on a day trip but I had to spend half the time on the bus. And I was at a wedding recently but I couldn’t smell the bride’s beautiful bouquet – all because of hayfever.”
Figures show that there has been a significant rise in the number of people buying treatments for hayfever.
On the Derbyshire Times’ Facebook, Chesterfield Tourist Information Centre commented: “If you buy local honey, that will help reduce the symptoms.”
But Karen said: “I’ve tried everything – tablets, sprays, lotions and honey. What’s more, I’ve got a device that emits infrared light into my nostrils, which helps reduce symptoms. But unfortunately nothing works completely.
“I’m crying out for someone to come up with a permanent cure – if that were to happen, I’d be very, very happy and I’d able to carry on as normal, without the constant sneezing, the blocked nose and irritable eyes.”
It has been the driest spring on record in Derbyshire, resulting in a surge in the amount of pollen in the air, according to weather experts.
Karen added: “I’d have to say that winter is my favourite season. I’d rather be outside in the cold than outside in the warmth and suffering?”
• See this week’s Derbyshire Times for some expert advice on hayfever from Steve Pintus, associate director of public health for NHS Derbyshire.