Hay fever: It’s snot a joke and it’s an epidemic. Why and what ...

World

Hay fever: It’s snot a joke and it’s an epidemic. Why and what to do?

The number of people with pollen allergies has increased drastically over the past two centuries

Maria Lally

Two hundred years ago, a Liverpool doctor named John Bostock was puzzled by the fact he suffered from blocked sinuses, catarrh and a general feeling of tiredness every June.

In 1819, he presented a study to fellow doctors, called the Case of a Periodical Affection of the Eyes and Chest, and ran through the various treatments he tried to soothe his symptoms, which included having ice baths and taking opium.

In an attempt to broaden his research, he set about looking for fellow sufferers of what he called his “summer catarrh”, and over the next nine years he found just 28...

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