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New study reveals that city traffic could be the biggest proliferator of “urban hayfever”

Diesel cars are making millions of city dwellers’ lives a misery, KLEENEX® Consultant Allergy Expert Dr. Adrian Morris warns today.

The pollen binds itself to cars’ exhaust residue, making it more likely to induce hayfever. The heavy diesel exhaust particles then carry the pollen residue deep into people’s airways.

With diesel vehicles currently totalling around 40% of new cars being sold, this is a massive problem for hayfever sufferers, who make up around 60% of the population according to the research carried out by Kleenex.

The revelation comes as nearly 9 in 10 people (86%) said they believed they were safer from the symptoms of hayfever in the city than in the countryside, where the condition was first coined as pollen binds itself to hay.

Dr. Morris explains: “It used to be hay that pollen would bind itself to but what most people don’t know is that today it is the diesel exhaust residue on cars. With the amount of diesel cars constantly increasing, especially in cities, this is a massive problem for the UK’s many hayfever sufferers.

“It’s beneficial to release the pollen from your respiratory system so it’s essential that you’re prepared whenever you’re out and about by taking antihistamines, a pocket pack of tissues and a bottle of water with you at all times.”


- Let it out – gently blowing your nose will help eradicate the pollen grains and diesel residue from your respiratory system

- Applying a little petroleum jelly to the lower nostrils will also help

- Try and avoid both heavily congested traffic areas and parks

- Don’t forget your tissues, antihistamines and water when you’re out and about

For further press information please contact:

Helen Shepherd or Jasmine Richards, Mandate Communications
Tel: 020 7379 5000
Email: or

Notes to Editor:

About KLEENEX® brand:

KLEENEX® is the number 1 brand in the UK holding a value share of 45% of the facial tissue category

KLEENEX® has driven all the major market innovations such as Kleenex Anti-Viral, KLEENEX® Ultra Soft, KLEENEX® Balsam, KLEENEX® Travellers & KLEENEX® pocket packs

3 packs of KLEENEX® are sold every second in the UK (AC Nielsen, 2007)

About Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people--nearly a quarter of the world's population--trust K-C's brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well being. With brands such as KLEENEX®, Andrex®, Huggies®, Pull-Ups®, Kotex® and Depend®, Kimberly-Clark holds the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in more than 80 countries. To keep up with the latest K-C news and to learn more about the company's 135-year history of innovation, visit

Facts About Hayfever:

The poll shows that up to 60% of the UK population suffers from hayfever or has done in the past (estimated up to 36 million Britons)

It is estimated that one in three children suffer from hayfever in the UK. The number of children who suffer from hayfever has trebled in the past three decades and a study from the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (commissioned by Benadryl) showed a correlation between high pollen counts and poor concentration levels

Teenagers and those aged 16-24 are the worse affected (as much as 75%) compared to the least affected over 55s (49%)

Explained by allergy expert, Dr Adrian Morris - the allergic reaction to pollen causes the eyes to stream and nose to run as it’s the body’s way to extract the ‘irritant’ from the system. By continually sniffing, the pollen is drawn further into the nasal passage where the body continues to react, which is why it’s better to blow your nose and remove the irritant

Climate change could bring year-round misery for hayfever sufferers allergic to pollen. The National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) has confirmed that pollen is in the air months before the hayfever season usually starts

Due to record temperatures, trees and flowers are starting to bloom sooner. Allergy UK advised that due to milder winters and the earlier spring season, they are seeing an increase in people suffering from hayfever all year round

Increased pollution is also a factor which has contributed to the rise of hayfever sufferers with those living in urban areas most affected

Hayfever can not only result in the usual symptoms of runny noses, watery eyes and itchy throat but in some cases asthma attacks can be triggered by pollen in susceptible individuals

Sneezing fits can mean a driver loses concentration and vision for up to half a mile. Up to three million motorists put themselves and other road users at risk by driving whilst taking over-the-counter remedies – some of which have a worse effect on a person’s driving than being over the alcohol limit, causing drowsiness and affecting the driver’s concentration (Road Safety Scotland)

Hayfever can affect the sufferer’s sleep pattern which can affect their concentration at work or school

A study by Education for Health showed that those with hayfever were about 40% more likely to drop a grade between their mock exams and summer GCSEs than non-sufferers. Students who took sedating hayfever medication were 70% more likely to drop a grade than those without hayfever

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