Alder and hazel are no longer in bloom in many parts of Germany. Birch pollen will soon be in the air, and the peak pollen allergy season will begin. Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst (German Pollen Information Service – PID) has generated a pollen count forecast for the entire year. The forecast is based on the weather from recent months, the predicted weather conditions, and pollen count data from the past 15 years.
“Bear in mind that this is a forecast. It only provides a general outlook on the coming months”, says Dr Torsten Zuberbier, chairman of the non-profit European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF). “The actual pollen count may vary significantly, so it is essential for people with hay fever to consult the daily pollen forecast. That said, we have observed specific trends in the annual figures. Climate change does have an effect. Certain trees and plants are blooming earlier. Other plants are thriving in Germany due to higher temperatures. The total amount of allergy-triggering pollen is rising.”
The ECARF Foundation points out that active measures can be taken. For example, highly allergenic ragweed pollen can be avoided by systematically removing the plants. Furthermore, a different approach towards urban planning is required in order to reduce the pollen count. Birch should no longer be planted along streets and in city parks, since an above average number of people are allergic to birch pollen.
Stiftung Deutscher Polleninformationsdienst predicts the following pollen count in the coming months:
- Birch (lat. Betula): There will likely be lower levels than in 2016; however, there may be higher levels in certain areas.
- Ash (lat. Fraxinus): Significantly higher levels than in 2016.
- Grasses (lat. Poaceae): Slight increase compared to the previous year – a trend that has been observed for several years.
- Rye (lat. Secale): Low levels as in the previous year.
- Mugwort (lat. Artemisia): Similar to 2016; slight decrease over the past few years.
- Ragweed (lat. Ambrosia): The pollen count is higher or lower depending on the concentration of ragweed plants, which varies widely throughout Germany. The pollen can also travel long distances from places such as the Great Hungarian Plain, where ragweed is rampant.