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Wednesday, 16 May, 2001, 02:19 GMT 03:19 UK
Hayfever text message service launched
One in five people in the UK suffer from hayfever
Hayfever sufferers will be able to check their mobile phones to find out whether they are at risk of streaming noses and bleary eyes.

A text message service offering daily information on pollen counts is being launched in the UK.

People don't always realise when there is a high pollen count and so forget to take their medication

Professor Jean Emberlin, National Pollen Research Unit
One in five people in the UK suffer from hayfever.

Research suggests that the allergy could be responsible for up to 3.5m people performing badly at work each year.

The survey found that 1.8 million workers are affected by hayfever on more than 10 days a year and about 750,000 people could be forced to take time off work each year because their hayfever symptoms are so severe.

The text message service is being launched by Beconase Hayfever, the manufacturers of a treatment for the condition, in conjunction with the new technology company Yahoo!

To use the service hayfever suffers must register at the Beconase Hayfever pollen alert website.


Once registered, users will be able to nominate a specific region to get a pollen count.

Professor Jean Emberlin, of the National Pollen Research Unit, said the advantage of text messages was that hayfever sufferers could get regular updates about pollen counts instead of having to rely on reports on radio or television.

He said: "Many hayfever sufferers benefit greatly from daily pollen counts because it helps regulate their activities and tells them when to take their medication.

"People don't always realise when there is a high pollen count and so forget to take their medication."

Click here for details

Hayfever is an allergy to pollens - the male reproductive parts of plants - from grasses and trees.

When they come into contact with the tissue inside the nose, they trigger an immune reaction that can cause congestion, sneezing, itching, and a runny nose.

It is more common during the summer when the levels of pollen are highest.

It can also be triggered by moulds, which are likely to be found in rainy or humid areas.

There are three types of treatment - anti-histamine tablets, nasal steroid sprays and anti-allergy injections.

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