Over half (54%) of Brits believe the air where they live is heavily polluted, a new survey for Allergy UK reveals. According to experts, air pollution is now the biggest environmental risk to early death. In the UK, the biggest causes of toxic air are emissions from vehicles including cars and busses.

There is a proven link between the quality of the air we breathe and the health of people living with allergic disease. Pollutants in the air can trigger issues such as coughing, breathing difficulties and wheezing in those people who are susceptible to irritants. Exposure to pollutants can also impact how well sufferers control their existing allergies including hay fever and asthma.

Traffic pollutants are a major source of airborne pollution, especially in busy urban areas. Not only can pollutants affect our respiratory health, the very small particles can pass into the bloodstream and cause issues with the heart.

We are not just exposed to the pollutants when outside, as these can easily get into indoor spaces such as our homes, workplaces and schools.

Despite almost three quarters (72%) of parents considering the effect of air pollution has on their children, many parents continue to contribute to the issue with 47% of children travelling to school by car, despite most living within a walkable distance of the school.

This therefore affects both the children who are travelling by car and the 47% who walk to school. Regardless, children are exposed to toxic air and this has a detrimental impact on their health.

Hay fever is much more than just a runny nose and itchy eyes. New research from Allergy UK has found that 72% of parents believe hay fever negatively affects their child’s quality of life. This is because symptoms can get so bad that sufferers are forced to miss out on events and take time off school. Due to being distracted by their hay fever and having to take time off school, three quarters (75%) of parents are confident their child’s hay fever impacts their performance at school.

As their bodies are still developing, children are at risk of their allergies developing into much more serious health problems including asthma. Despite this, however, almost half (46%) of parents are unaware of the link between hay fever and asthma.

View the full case study here to find out how we carried out this research and the coverage it generated.

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