Pollen explosion to bring misery for hay fever sufferers as experts warn millions at risk of deadly asthma attacks
A POLLEN explosion is set to bring misery for millions as the warmer weather finally arrives – with experts warning it could prove deadly.
Thundery showers dumped an inch of rain in some parts of the UK yesterday, but the mercury is set to creep up with temperatures expected to reach 25C next week.
And while many will be dusting off their shorts and T-shirts, ready to flood beer gardens, for millions the news is set to ruin their weekends.
The balmier climes will mean trees will burst into a flowering frenzy, kicking off the hay fever season with a sharp surge in pollen levels.
More than six million Brits are plagued by itchy eyes, a constant runny nose, headaches and irritating sneezes every summer.
And for half of them, deadly asthma attacks are a real threat – triggered by pollen.
The Met Office is warning pollen levels will reach high levels across southern England tomorrow, peaking again by Tuesday.
Hay fever and asthma are closely linked, with around 80 per cent of people with asthma finding their symptoms are made worse when pollen counts are high.
Sonia Munde, nurse manager at Asthma UK, said: Pollen is a top trigger for asthma attacks at this time of the year, affecting an estimated 3.3million people with asthma in the UK.
“People with asthma who also have a pollen allergy not only experience classic hay fever symptoms such as itchy eyes and a running nose, but are also at an increased risk of a life-threatening asthma attack.”
She said anyone who has both asthma and hay fever should ensure they are taking antihistamines and nasal steroid sprays, and ensure they take their preventer inahler as prescribed to ward off an attack.
Holly Shaw, nurse advisor at Allergy UK, added: “The warmer weather can signal the start of allergic symptoms for people with hay fever.
“Pollen avoidance can be challenging due to the many different types of pollens from grasses, trees and weeds being released at different times of the year.”
She urged people to stock up on antihistamines, to help manage their symptoms.
Typically the hay fever season starts in mid-March, with tree pollen blooming until May.
But this year, the Beast From The East has blasted the country with icy weather, delaying spring.
This delay is part of the problem, allergy expert Max Wisebery warned.
“When the tree pollen season is delayed, more trees are likely to release their pollen at the same time, creating a time bomb waiting to explode,” he said.
“Peaks of tree pollen could be higher than normal. The recent cold wintry weather provided the optimum conditions for this to happen.”
And the misery won’t end when tree pollen levels begin to trail off in May.
It marks the start of the grass pollen season, the most common allergen that wages war on hay fever sufferers until July.
And come June, it’s the turn of weed pollen.
The Met Office said weather conditions will also play a role in how bad the pollen bomb hits — with hay fever sufferers praying for rain.