May is the worst month for hay fever sufferers in southern Spain, because the pollen count is higher than at any other time in spring. “We have seen more patients with allergies than usual in the past two weeks because of all the grass and olive tree pollen,” says specialist Gonzalo Campos, the coordinator of the AlergoMalaga. Between 25 and 30 per cent of the population of Malaga suffers from some type of allergy.
The increased amount of pollen is due to the rainfall in April and the sudden rise in temperatures in May. People in Estepona may be suffering more than most, says Dr Campos, because the wind has carried pollen from the inland region of Malaga and it is especially concentrated there now. Meanwhile, those in the Guadalhorce area and La Axarquía may also be affected by the parietaria plant, which is particularly prelavent this year.
“This year may be causing problems from some people with allergies, but in fact it is better than last year, which was particularly difficult,” says Dr Campos.
That may be small consolation for those who are suffering major hay fever symptoms at present, but the situation is expected to improve in early June, especially on the coast, and in the middle of the month in rural areas.