High temperatures cause hay fever hell for millions
Millions of hay fever sufferers endured the hottest day of the year so far, with Hurn at Bournemouth yesterday reporting temperatures of an incredible 29.7C – warmer than that of certain areas of India and the Caribbean over the weekend. As much of the UK headed to the seaside or parks, or alternatively stayed at home to watch Andy Murray’s sensational Wimbledon triumph, perhaps little thought would have been given to the large section of the population struggling to control itchy eyes, watering noses and constant sneezing. There are an estimated 15 million hay fever sufferers in the UK alone, and high temperatures like those witnessed over the weekend can prove chaotic and sometimes even deadly for those with allergies. On Friday a spokesman for the Met Office warned: “Potentially we could be seeing a new maximum temperature for the year on Sunday. Some parts of the country could get 30C (86F). This will exceed the previous hottest temperature of 27.2C that was seen on June 30 at Heathrow. However, the pollen counts are going to be high and very high for most of the country over the weekend, so it is going to be quite agonising for some.” However, the high temperatures are expected to now continue until at least the middle of July, and perhaps a lot longer. This of course follows a strangely cold spring and the wet, miserable summer witnessed last year. The hot weather and dry, settled conditions will cause pollen levels to shoot up and result in misery for those suffering with hay fever. Due to wet, later spring this year, the warm weather now hitting the UK has resulted in a surge in plant growth. Through this week and continuing to next week, forecasters predict the pollen counts to be extremely high across the majority of the country and only the very north of Scotland will probably see any relief. Pollen forecasts are a vital tool for anybody suffering with hay fever or other allergies, to strategise medications, treatment, and plan how best to minimise the effect of pollen on their health. The pollen count season usually runs from March to August, but can begin as early as January and end as late as November. The pollen season is segregated into three areas: . Tree pollen - late March to mid-May. . Grass pollen - mid-May to July. . Weed pollen - end of June to September. Public health officials are now warning people to take extra precaution with the rising temperatures, with fears that the dangers go much further than just a runny nose or itchy eyes. In fact The Local Government Association states that for each additional degree above 25C, there could be 75 more fatalities; mostly young children and the elderly. A heat wave during 2003 claimed the lives of approximately 2,000 people, and there a fears the same situation could occur a decade on. Zoe Patrick, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said: “British summers are notoriously unpredictable and so with a few sunny weeks forecast we can all look forward to enjoying the fine weather for a change. Sadly there are some people for whom the temperatures will make life a little more difficult. The hundreds of deaths caused by extreme heat each year are avoidable. Councils are determined to reduce the toll as much as possible, but they cannot do it alone. Local people can make a massive difference by helping us identify other residents who might need some advice or practical help.” 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.