Hay fever misery as peak pollen bomb hits - raising risk of fatal side effect (2024)

A POLLEN bomb is set to explode over parts of the UK this weekend, spelling misery for millions of Brits suffering from hay fever.

Aside from itchy, swollen eyes and interminable sniffling, the tiny pollen particles could also raise the risk of dangerous side effects for asthma sufferers.

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Hay fever can make asthma and lung conditions worse, potentially triggering an attack that could be life-threatening if not treated.

The Met's pollen forecast predicts high pollen counts to hit parts of the UK this weekend.

Wales, the South West and London and the South East will be besieged by pollen particles on Saturday.

The East of England and the East and West Midlands will also be hit by high pollen counts on Sunday.

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Hay fever sufferers might could continue to experience symptoms into next week, as pollen counts will remain high in the South West, South East and East of England.

Max Wiseberg, airborne allergens expert and creator of HayMax barrier balms, warned that a particular kind of pollen could be the cause of misery this weekend.

He said: “High pollen counts are forecast for this weekend and Monday across the South of England, Midlands and Wales.

“The grass pollen season usually peaks in June and July, so high pollen forecasts this weekend mark the start of the peak season.

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"And as 95 per cent of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen, this weekend will be the worst so far this year for sufferers.”

But sniffles, sneezing and itching may strike even if the high pollen counts don't reach your area.

What is hay fever?

“Many hay fever sufferers start to experience symptoms when the count reaches ‘moderate’,” Max explained.

The East of England will have ‘moderate’ pollen counts on Saturday, before they increase to high on Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, pollen levels will remain 'moderate' in the North West on Saturday and Sunday, as well as in Yorkshire and the North East on Sunday.

Counts in Scotland and Northern Ireland are forecast to remain low.

“Counts will be higher near to large sources of grass pollen including hay meadows," Max added.

WARNING TO ASTHMA SUFFERERS

As many as 80 per cent of asthma sufferers find their symptoms worsening with the onset of hay fever during spring and summer, according to First Aid for Life.

Hay fever can increase your risk of an asthma attack, the experts added, as it causes your already inflamed airways to swell up even further, leaving you breathless.

On top of this, your increasingly inflamed and sensitised airways are more likely to react to further triggers.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Most children and adults with asthma have times when their breathing becomes more difficult.

Some people with severe asthma may have breathing problems most of the time.

The most common symptoms of asthma are:

  • wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
  • breathlessness
  • a tight chest- it may feel likea band is tightening aroundit
  • coughing

Many things can cause these symptoms, but they're more likely to be asthma if they:

  • happenoften and keep coming back
  • are worse at night and early in the morning
  • seem to happen in response to anasthma triggerlike exercise or an allergy (such as to pollen or animals)

See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma, or you have asthma and are finding it hard to control.

Source:The NHS

Asthma + Lung UK advised you treat your hay fever symptoms to avoid exacerbating your asthma.

It suggested you:

  • Takeantihistaminesto help with your hay fever symptoms.
  • If you use a reliever inhaler (usually blue), always keep it with you and use it straight away if your symptoms get worse.
  • Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.
  • Wear a mask, wraparound sunglasses or a hat with a large brim. This will help to stop pollen getting into your eyes.
  • Use a saltwater nasal spray or solution to rinse the inside of your nose.
  • Put vaseline (petroleum jelly) around your nostrils to trap pollen when you’re outside. You should not do this if you are usinghome oxygen therapy.
  • Shower and change your clothes when you come home to wash off any pollen.
  • Vacuum and dust with a damp cloth regularly.

But you should see your GP if:

  • Your hay fever, asthma, or lung condition symptoms are getting worse
  • Your symptoms do not improve after using hay fever treatments.

WHAT IS HAY FEVER?

“Hay fever is the result of our immune system’s overreaction to innocuous substances such as pollen," Max explained.

"The body produces histamines – normal amounts are good – they are the things that keep us alert, attentive and awake.

"But, when there are too many in the body, they produce the sneezing and other symptoms common to hay fever sufferers, such as a runny nose, a stuffed up nose, itchy and watery or streaming eyes, nasal congestion and a general stuffed up feeling in the nose and throat.”

Hay fever symptoms can range from mild to more severe.

Hay fever symptoms and how to treat it

HAY fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it's warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is at its highest.

Typical symptoms include:

  • frequent sneezing
  • runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes (allergicconjunctivitis)
  • an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • cough, caused by postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose)

Less commonly, you may also experience:

  • the loss of your sense of smell (anosmia)
  • facial pain (caused by blocked sinuses)
  • headaches
  • earache
  • tiredness and fatigue

If you haveasthma, yourasthma symptomsmay get worse when you have hay fever.

How to treat it

There's currently no cure for hay fever and you cannot prevent it.

But you can do things to ease your symptoms when the pollen count is high.

  • Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting into your eyes
  • Shower and change your clothes after you have been outside to wash pollen off
  • Stay indoors whenever possible
  • Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible
  • Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth
  • Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter
  • Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities

Source: NHS

Factors like your sleep and diet can also affect your hay fever symptoms.

According to Max: "What you eat and drink can affect how much – or how little – you will suffer from hay fever."

He advised: "Stay hydrated and eat lots of fruit and vegetables to stay healthy and support your immune system.

"Some foods such as capers, red onions, watercress and kale contain quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Avoid alcohol as it contains histamines.

"Herbal teas can help, for example ginger and green tea work as natural anti-histamines whilst peppermint reduces congestion.”

Max also advised you try get good kip to get you through hay fever season.

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“Hay fever can affect your sleep, so adopt a regular routine. Shower at night before sleeping to remove pollen particles from your hair and body. Then apply an organic allergen barrier balm to block the pollen.

"Change and wash your bedding regularly to remove allergens.”

Hay fever misery as peak pollen bomb hits - raising risk of fatal side effect (2024)
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