THE relief hay fever suffers may have felt this week is short lived as high pollen counts are set for most of the country this weekend.
Rain and thunderstorms are predicted to sweep across the country, bringing with them a perfect storm of pollen – with experts warning it could prove deadly.
The pollen count will be high in the North today
The heat wave of the hottest May Bank Holiday weekend on record looks to be over, but the hay fever season is still going strong.
A wet winter followed by recent balmier climes means trees 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.
Saturday will see the North and Scotland hit hard with pollen levels
For the south of the country the pollen levels will remain mild all weekend
The Met Office is warning pollen levels will be high in the North today before Scotland is hit hard on Saturday.
Pollen will remain high in these areas throughout the weekend, but the south of the country has some relief with low levels predicted.
By Monday most areas of the country will have a higher pollen count, so make sure your antihistamines are at the ready.
Asthma UK has warned this weekends thunderstorms could trigger potentially deadly asthma attacks – with the risk even higher for hay fever sufferers.
Pollen levels will start to climb again by Monday
Sonia Munde, nurse manager at Asthma UK, said an estimated 3.3million Brits had their asthma triggered by pollen, explaining: “Thunderstorms can have a devastating impact on people with asthma and trigger an asthma attack which could be fatal.
“Humid, stormy conditions break the pollen into much smaller particles, which are then inhaled more deeply into the lungs and can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.”
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 added: “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.”
Getty – Contributor Hay fever can also trigger deadly asthma attacks
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, airborne allergens expert and creator of HayMax, Max Wiseberg 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.
Met Office The hay fever season in the UK typically kicks off in mid-March with tree pollen, and lasts into September
“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.