IT’S bad news for hay fever sufferers today, with pollen levels set to soar following the weekend’s heatwave.
The Met Office has issued warnings for “very high” pollen levels across England, reaching as far as Middlesborough.
On Saturday, temperatures soared to 34’C in Middlesex, making it the hottest day of the year.
Hot weather really can make hay fever worse, with experts blaming an increase in first-time hay fever sufferers on last year’s extraordinarily hot, dry summer.
Experts say breathing in hot air can cause the airways to narrow, leading to coughing and shortness of breath.
Hot weather can also increase the amount of pollutants and mould in the air, which can cause asthma symptoms to flare up.
Dr Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead for Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: “This swampy humid air could spell misery for people with asthma and even trigger a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
“Humidity can trap pollutants and allergens like pollen, mould, dust and smoke in the air, which then cause asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and a tight chest.
“If you have asthma and are already noticing more asthma symptoms such as coughing, a tight chest or breathlessness, make sure you keep your blue reliever inhaler with you at all times.
“Take hay fever medicines to help stop the allergic reaction, use your preventer inhaler (usually brown) as prescribed to reduce the inflammation in your airways.”
Grass pollen season
It is thought that more than 10 million people in Britain suffer with hay fever – and it affects around 80 per cent of people with asthma.
Grass pollen is the most common allergy and affects 90 per cent of people with hay fever, according to Allergy UK.
The season runs from mid-May until July, with two peaks – usually the first two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July.
But this can vary depending on where you are in the country and how the weather has been during spring and early summer.