Autumn Sneezing Syndrome is on the rise as experts encounter growing numbers of ... trends now

Autumn Sneezing Syndrome is on the rise as experts encounter growing numbers of ... trends now
Autumn Sneezing Syndrome is on the rise as experts encounter growing numbers of ... trends now

Autumn Sneezing Syndrome is on the rise as experts encounter growing numbers of ... trends now

Sneezing fits and runny noses are a common hazard of the colder months. Many of us worry that we’re in the early stages of a cold, flu or even Covid.

But it turns out in an increasing number of cases it’s actually a bout of allergic rhinitis – better known as hay fever.

Dr Ellie Cannon, The Mail on Sunday’s resident GP, wrote in her column a couple of weeks ago about a colleague struggling with sneezing fits but none of the other unpleasant symptoms – headache, sore throat, muscle aches – of a normal cold. And in response she received a torrent of tales from readers with similar problems – seemingly linked to the changing seasons.

Now medical experts have confirmed they are battling with a growing number of autumnal cases of allergic rhinitis – when the delicate lining of the nose becomes swollen in response to an allergen such as mould or pollen (when it’s known as hay fever).

The MoS readers’ tales ranged from sneezing fits causing muscle pain to attacks so severe they feared they would drive off the road. Some symptoms can even be disabling.

Sneezing fits and runny noses are a common hazard of the colder months. Many of us worry that we¿re in the early stages of a cold, flu or even Covid

Sneezing fits and runny noses are a common hazard of the colder months. Many of us worry that we’re in the early stages of a cold, flu or even Covid

But it turns out in an increasing number of cases it¿s actually a bout of allergic rhinitis ¿ better known as hay fever

But it turns out in an increasing number of cases it’s actually a bout of allergic rhinitis – better known as hay fever

Margaret Kennedy, from Fife, says her fits are so violent they leave her feeling sore. ‘I’ve had ten sneezes in a row sometimes,’ she adds. ‘I have a box of tissues in each room of the house as my nose drips profusely.’

Another reader says her sneezing has become ‘much more violent and numerous over recent weeks’, while another says they even make her feel depressed.

Some reported they usually suffer from hay fever in the warmer months, but are now having to continue taking treatments such as antihistamines.

For many, this is the first time they have been hit in the colder months, leaving them baffled. ‘I have been sneezing for the past couple of weeks with absolutely no obvious cause,’ writes one.

It has been proven that levels of airborne mould and fungal spores increase during the autumn, which can prompt hay fever allergies in some people. These moulds are often found in dead vegetable matter in gardens and woodlands, says the charity Allergy UK. Piles of rotting leaves, grass cuttings, compost heaps and garden sheds are prime environments for their growth, and levels are notably higher in September and October.

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