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Vienna Marathon: threat of high birch pollen count

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(Vienna, 20 April 2018) Dry and sunny weather is forecast for the Vienna City Marathon this coming Sunday. Although this might be good news for most runners, it isn't for those who are allergic to pollen. Birch trees are still flowering and can still produce a high birch pollen count.  Other trees in flower are the hornbeam, European hop hornbeam, beech and oak – all related to the birch and therefore capable of triggering a cross-reaction, which could aggravate the symptoms of sufferers. "People who are allergic to birch pollen should therefore take precautions and not expose themselves to a high pollen count unprepared," explains Katharina Bastl of MedUni Vienna's Pollen Monitoring Service.

Sneak preview of the weather for the Vienna City Marathon this coming Sunday
It is currently expected that the weather on 22 April 2018 will be dry and overcast to sunny. These conditions are generally favourable for the spread of pollen. Birch blossoms continue to be the main allergen for pollen allergy sufferers and can produce high pollen concentrations. A relevant pollen count must be expected at all times of day.

In any case, it is well worth looking at the allergy risk on Sunday, as this shows the pollen count over the course of the day (on the website or via the "Pollen" app):

The situation will be exacerbated by flowering of the hornbeam, European hop hornbeam, beech and oak. This will aggravate symptoms for people with a birch pollen allergy, who have an existing cross-reaction. Beech trees in particular are flowering more vigorously than usual in Vienna this year.

On top of this, ash and plane trees (sycamores) are generating high pollen counts, especially along tree-lined avenues.

The experts from the Pollen Monitoring Service recommend that people should only start the race after they have assessed the situation and taken any necessary precautions.