Pollen forecast: significantly more birch pollen in 2016

The first signs of spring also signal the beginning of hay fever season for allergy sufferers. Pollen from hazels and alders, which flower early in the season, has already been detected in the air.
The German Pollen Information Service Foundation (PID) provides the following forecast for allergenic pollen types in Germany based on the weather situation of the past several months, the foreseeable weather conditions and the pollen count of the past 15 years. The estimated start and end dates (+/- 3 days) of the season for the respective pollen type are indicated for

– (1) Northern Germany
– (2) Central and eastern Germany
– (3) Western Germany
– (4) Southern Germany

Hazel pollen:
1. From 05.02. to 15.04.2016
2. From 01.02. to 01.04.2016
3. From 18.01. to 10.04.2016
4. From 01.02. to 15.04.2016
Grass pollen:
1. From 28.04. to 25.09.2016
2. From 20.04. to 25.09.2016
3. From 15.04. to 30.09.2016
4. From 20.04. to 20.09.2016
Alder pollen:
1. From 10.02. to 03.05.2016
2. From 05.02. to 15.04.2016
3. From 15.01. to 20.04.2016
4. From 10.02. to 20.04.2016
Mugwort pollen:
1. From 10.07. to 15.09.2016
2. From 12.07. to 15.09.2016
3. From 25.06. to 10.09.2016
4. From 10.07. to 05.09.2016
Birch pollen:
1. From 25.03. to 15.06.2016
2. From 20.03. to 25.05.2016
3. From 22.03. to 10.06.2016
4. From 16.03. to 02.06.2016
Ragweed pollen:
1. From 15.08. to 10.09.2016
2. From 01.08. to 15.09.2016
3. From 01.08. to 10.09.2016
4. From 01.08. to 15.09.2016

 

According to estimates by PID, the birch pollen count within the given time period will be significantly higher in many regions in Germany than in 2015. Symptoms triggered by birch pollen (hay fever and/or pollen asthma) in people allergic to birch pollen will probably be more severe in 2016 than in 2015.

After years of progressive decline, the concentration of grass pollen has been increasing in Germany as in other European countries since 20105. Grass pollen may also trigger more severe symptoms in 2016 than in 2015.

Concentrations of weed pollen, especially mugwort pollen, will not increase.

Concentrations of ragweed pollen are hard to predict, given that significant and unpredictable amounts of pollen can travel long distances, in particular from the Hungarian lowlands.

For more information about pollen

Allergy sufferers have access to the following sources of information about pollen counts:

  • Pollen count data from past years, the current pollen count calendar, links to the current pollen forecast and the most recent publications are available on the website of the German Pollen Information Service Foundation (PID) (www.pollenstiftung.de – in German).
  • The pollen forecast of the German weather service based on measurements taken by PID at around 40 locations in Germany. PID has the only extensive and most precise measuring network in Germany.
  • The free smartphone app ‘Pollen 4.0’ lets users track their ocular, nasal and bronchial symptoms and their medication usage, and provides a general and customised pollen forecast and a comparison of the pollen load in the nearest pollen trap with the severity of the user’s symptoms.
  • The free smartphone app ‘Husteblume’ provided by the health insurance company Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) has the same features as the ‘Pollen’ app and also offers to send the user information about how other people are successfully caring for their nose, eyes or bronchia (for asthma), within seconds of entering his symptoms.

“Allergy sufferers can prepare themselves ahead of time according to the pollen count periods”, says Professor Karl-Christian Bergmann, director of PID and expert at the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF). “If people who have never had hay fever before experience symptoms during this period, they should see a doctor to find out whether they have an allergy.”

Typical symptoms experienced by hay fever patients include a non-stop runny nose, swelling of the nasal mucosa, red and watery eyes, itchy nose and sneezing. People with a tree pollen allergy should be especially careful, since untreated allergic rhinitis can develop into allergic asthma.

Early intervention

“Visit your allergy specialist before pollen season begins”, advises Professor Bergmann. “This will give you enough time to get the medication you will need. You can also discuss alternative treatment methods such as short-term immunotherapy.“