Countryfile diaries seasonal allergy special on 20th May

If you love nature but also want to find out how you can enjoy the Spring and Summer and embrace the outdoors whilst minimising the effects of your hay fever read on…

Simple tasks like going for a walk, run or gardening when you have hay fever can become almost impossible during the hay fever season.

Just being told to take antihistamines, stay indoors with the windows shut and avoid all those glorious spring and summer evenings is soul destroying… but it might not be the only tactic available.

BBC Countryfile diaries commissioned a special programme, specifically about the rise in season allergies to tree pollens to explore why we are seeing so many more people with hay fever and what people might be able to do to prevent too much suffering.

Filming BBC Countryfile Diaries Seasonal Allergy special with Keeley Donavan

Filming BBC Countryfile Diaries ‘Seasonal Allergy special’ with Keeley Donavan

Please all set your recorders to tape Countryfile Diaries on Monday 20th May at 9.15 am, just after the news.

Boy am I showing my age there. Do people still ‘tape’ things any more? πŸ˜‰

If you don’t work then you can watch it live and it will also be available on catchup for anyone who misses it.

I can’t tell you anything at all about it…or I’d have to kill you, just that I have a starring role with the beautiful weather girl from Look North, Keeley Donovan, in a special programme about seasonal allergies. There was also a very knowledgeable garden advisor who explored our jungle of a garden for potential high pollen plants and trees and had loads of useful advice.

I’m allergic to birch and hazel tree pollen and also to grass so usually pretty much hay fever all year for me πŸ™ and if it’s not hay fever it’s dust!

Tree pollen allergies can also cross react with some fruit which is called oral allergy syndrome. This can cause itching, irritation and a rash around the mouth, face and lips if you eat certain foods that the body identifies as similar to the tree pollen you’re allergic to.

You can find out more about oral allergy syndrome or pollen food syndrome on the Allergy UK website.

I also found this useful “Chart with pollens and their cross reactors” on the Allergic Living website.

Oral Allergy: Plants, Foods That Cross-React chart from Allergic Living

Oral Allergy: Plants, Foods That Cross-React chart from Allergic Living

This explains why I also have problems with celery and tomato, both causing me quite unpleasant reactions, but not the risk of anaphylaxis, thankfully. Oral allergy syndrome, whilst being painful and inconvenient for many, is not life threatening. These are not technically allergies, like my diagnosed allergies to nuts, dairy, wheat and soya, but I still avoid them like the plague because the reactions I get are pretty horrible.

You can read more about this in, “Surely you can’t have hay fever all year round?” in my allergy diary for Foods Matter.

I learnt so much from just an afternoon and have so many things that I can now try to do to reduce the effects of my hay fever.

I will be telling you all what I learnt after the programme in a future blog “20 things you can do to reduce the effects of hay fever” .

You’ll all just have to watch it to find out how to enjoy the summer in your garden whilst reducing and minimising the pain and frustration of hay fever.

Don’t forget, it will be on Countryfile Diaries on BBC1, 9.15am, after the news on Friday 20th May.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. Thanks Michelle. I have a blog pending about all the amazing things I learned during filming.


  1. […] Mind you, the Today programme is not the only one to have picked up on hay fever and the damage done by pollen. Countryfile Diaries did a piece on seasonal allergies with our very own Ruth Holroyd which went out on May 20th. (Theoretically you can still get it on iPlayer although I must admit that so far I have failed….) They were really enthusiastic when I spoke to them and fingers crossed that they might think of including regular allergy updates throughout the year. OK, so now it is pollen, but what about grass a bit later, and then mould in the autumn…. All killers for those who live in close proximity to them. You can read more about the programme on Ruth’s What Allergy blog here. […]

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