AXA PPP healthcare

And now the long term festival forecast …

Press release   •   Jun 19, 2014 15:06 BST

This summer expect sneezes at Glastonbury, runny noses at V Festival and sore eyes at Wilderness and, if it’s really hot and sunny, there’ll be people with all three at Lovebox!

A new festival-goers’ Hay Fever Hotspots map from AXA PPP healthcare, out this week, shows how and where Britain’s major summer festivals coincide with the country’s peak hay fever season. It shows where there’s the highest risk of the allergy ruining your fun and where you might get away without so much as a single sneeze.

With warmer temperatures and peaking grass pollen levels, hay fever is set to bring discomfort and misery to sufferers throughout the UK.1 Combined with a festive beer or three at Glastonbury, V Festival or Wilderness or wherever the fun is (and given that alcohol can exacerbate hay fever symptoms2), this could spell misery for thousands – unless they take action.

Using data from the Met Office,3 the AXA PPP healthcare Hay Fever Hotspots map shows the regional variation in UK pollen levels and overlays this with the locations of major summer festivals. Central, South and South-East England are the areas likely to be hardest hit, with urban, inland areas such as London and Birmingham also showing potential for high rates of hay fever. The bad news is that many summer festivals – such as Global Gathering, Lovebox and the Reading Festival – take place in high risk areas. 

“Summer can be a miserable time for hay fever suffers and, for festival-goers, suffering from a runny nose and itchy eyes can really put a damper on the day,” said Dr Steve Iley, medical director of AXA PPP healthcare’s Health Services division. “To help festival-goers make the most of their time outdoors, we have prepared a Hay Fever Hotspots map to highlight at-risk areas and, we hope, encourage sufferers to plan ahead to make sure they’re prepared to deal with their condition.”

The map brings some good news too – Bestival, T in the Park and Festival N06 are among the better bets for hay fever sufferers as they take place near the coast where pollen counts are generally lower than those found inland.

“With the right planning, hay fever treatment can be very effective,’ said Dr Iley continued. “Festival-goers with a history of hay fever should see their GP or pharmacist before they head off to the festival to ensure they’ve got the right medication to hand.”

“In many cases, an anti-inflammatory steroid or sodium cromoglicate nose spray, starting before symptoms begin and taken regularly, along with daily eye drops and antihistamine tablets, should suffice to keep hay fever at bay. In addition, simple self-help measures, such as wearing wrap-around sunglasses and applying a barrier such as petroleum jelly around the nostrils to keep pollen away from the nose, can also be effective,” he said.

For a real-time feel for what’s being said about hay fever on social media, AXA PPP has also introduced a Hay Fever Tweet Tracker – an interactive map, refreshed every 10 minutes, that logs hay fever related tweets on a region by region basis for a snap shot of the nation’s conversation about this annoying and, for some, debilitating condition:


1 Hay fever & rhinitis, Asthma UK:

2 Five tips to reduce hay fever symptoms, NHS Choices:

3 Average UK pollen levels, Met Office:


Ben Faulkner/John DuBois  AXA PPP healthcare press office  

Notes to editors

About hay fever

Hay fever symptoms are caused by the body wrongly identifying pollen as a threat to the immune system and producing chemicals, including histamine, which cause the eyes to water and itch and the nose to run. Around 30 different pollen types can trigger hay fever. In the UK, 90 per cent of people with hay fever are allergic to grass pollen and around 25 per cent are allergic to tree pollen. Grass pollen levels peak in June and July, while tree pollens can be present as early as February, through until late June. For more information and advice on keeping hay fever symptoms at bay, please visit

About the AXA PPP healthcare Hay Fever Tweet Tracker

The AXA PPP healthcare Hay Fever Tweet Tracker, which refreshes every 10 minutes, shows on a region by region basis the relative level of tweeting about hay fever, sneezing and allergies in each of 104 regions in the UK and Republic of Ireland that it monitors. The map shows the intensity of hay fever tweeting relative to the highest level of tweets previously attained in each region since monitoring began 05 May 2014. Five levels of tweeting intensity are shown:

·  No tweets

·  Low – from 1 per cent up to 24 per cent of the highest tweet level attained

·  Medium – from 25 per cent up to 49 per cent of the highest tweet level attained

·  High level – from 50 per cent up to 74 per cent of the highest tweet level attained

·  Highest level – from 75 per cent up to 100 per cent of the highest tweet level attained

The tracker does not display actual numbers of tweets so cannot be used to compare numbers of tweets from one region with another.

About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.  

About AXA

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 160,000 employees serving 102 million clients in 56 countries. In 2013, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 91.2 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 4.7 billion. AXA had Euro 1,113 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2013.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.