When the hazel and alder shed the first pollen in spring, the annual ordeal begins for many people - then the great sniffing and sneezing, the itching and burning set in.

While public life is shifting outside, every fifth person in Germany has to say: stay at home or take medication.

You suffer from hay fever, medically: allergic rhinitis.

As common as this widespread disease is, many of those affected deal with it carelessly.

Experts speak of a downright trivialization. Hay fever is anything but trivial: More and more people are getting it, especially in industrialized countries. If left untreated, the symptoms can worsen and even develop into a threatening allergic asthma.