Warning for hay fever sufferers with predicted record pollen levels

allergyFrom this week up to 28 April it is Allergy Awareness Week and unfortunately it is today we must report that hay fever sufferers could be in for a tough time in the coming months after it has emerged that the pollen count could rise prior to June and reach its highest levels in half a century.

The fact that the UK has experienced a much longer winter has resulted in a later onset for the spring season, with an early summer expected. These factors could help to increase pollen levels to a 50-year high affecting an estimated 16 million people around the UK who suffer with allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

Hay fever symptoms are induced by the inhalation of pollen particles and by pollen managing to get into the eyes. You can get hay fever from anywhere between early spring to late summer, depending on which particular pollen(s) you have an allergy to. The common pollens that prove problematic in early spring for hay fever suffers are those that emanate from trees such as the ash, oak, silver birch, and London plane.

Health experts state that this weekend saw the pollen count spiral from a reading of zero to high and predict further huge increases until June following a bitterly cold March and early April. It is thought England will be much worse off, but Scotland is also likely to experience a pollen ‘burst’ due to a cold March delaying the pollen season by a month. Because tree pollen levels are now set to surge and this ‘phenomenon’ of tree pollen will expectedly collide with grass pollen from late May.

Professor Roy Kennedy, of the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, and one of Britain’s leading hay fever experts said: “The cold spring meant a late start for pollen with a pollen burst now in a condensed period. It means peak pollen levels early in the season – not later, as normal. The last year to see similarly early-season pollen peaks is probably in the 1960s following a cold spring such as March 1962 – or even earlier. Scotland will also see a condensed tree pollen season. Hay fever sufferers could be badly affected and need to be aware of this.”

The NHS has urged those who could be affected to use wraparound sunglasses, to have a shower after being outdoors and then change into clean clothes. Anybody who suffers from hay fever and other allergies are also commonly advised to try and remain indoors as much as possible during the period of high pollen counts and to check the latest pollen forecast with the Met Office.

For those unaware, the pollen count season is usually from March to August, although it can begin as early January and sometimes end as late as November.

The pollen season is segregated into three main areas:

. Tree pollen – late March to mid-May.

. Grass pollen – mid-May to July.

. Weed pollen – end of June to September.

Medical Specialists Pharmacy offer a wide range of medicines  to treat allergies such as hay fever including Loratadine – a non-drowsy antihistamine which can provide relief from the symptoms of hay fever and Nasonex nasal spray – a nasal corticosteroid spray for the relief of congestion, sneezing, itching and a runny nose. Prevalin is another nasal spray that lines the inside of your nose and actually deactivates the pollen, and finally there’s Alomide allergy eye drops that can bring relief from red, itchy, watery and puffy eyes if used regularly.

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