If you suffer from hay fevers, we’ve got bad news for you. According to Met Office, pollen levels have reached their seasonal peak in many parks of south England and Wales and according to the forecast, things are looking even more grim for the rest of the week.
Forecasters have warned that this is only the beginning of the pollen season which is expected to get worse as the summer continues. Even parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland where pollen levels are comparatively lower may see the effects of ‘pollen bomb’.
Pollen Bomb in U.K.
The onset of a severe pollen season has been triggered by a sudden change in weather conditions and growth of grass after the end of a long winter, according to Grahame Madge, the spokesman for Met Office, who believes that conditions could become even more miserable for hay fever sufferers over the next three weeks.
The season was brought on by a ‘pollen bomb’ which erupted due to an abrupt spell of sunshine and high temperatures after a cold, stormy winter, bringing with it flu-like symptoms including runny nose, watery eyes and excessive sneezing.
Long spells of sunshine and balmy weather after a miserable winter may be good news for the brits, but a sudden surge in temperatures has condensed spring into shorter time span, causing intense flowering across sunny parts of the country.
The recent spells of rain and warmth have sped up the growth of trees and grass even more, making the problem worse for hay fever sufferers. Experts say that it will take at least another three weeks for pollen levels to decrease, and conditions will begin to improve once summer gets more intense and dry.
Pollen Levels to Remain High for 3 More Weeks
Probably the worst culprit in this year’s pollen season is grass which has grown quickly and excessively. Pollen forecaster from University of Worcester, Beverley Adams-Groom, said that 95 per cent of the hay fever sufferers are triggered by grass pollen which is at an all time high due to perfect weather condition for flower growth.
In the next three weeks, hay fever sufferers will most-likely experience mild cold-like symptoms, and even asthma attacks in some severe cases which can become life-threatening. According to NHS’ estimation, this year’s pollen season is expected to affect almost 3 million asthma sufferers. Those who have a history of severe allergic reactions are encouraged to check pollen forecast regularly and take preventive steps to reduce exposure to the allergen.
In U.K. alone, up to 30 per cent of the adults suffer from hay fever whereas the number of sufferers among children is almost 40 per cent, according to reports by Allergy UK. Those who do suffer from pollen allergies are advised to wear mask and sunglasses outside, keep the windows shut to prevent pollen from getting inside the house and washing clothing regularly to remove trapped pollen.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever – also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis – is a type of allergy caused by the release of pollen during spring, summer and fall season which can last between March and November. Allergy symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and itchy skin. Other uncommon symptoms include hives, headaches and asthma attacks. People who suffer from eczema and asthma are more likely to experience symptoms of hay fever.
Pollen grains are microscopic particles are almost impossible to avoid, but hay fever sufferers can reduce allergy symptoms by minimizing their exposure to pollen. Avoiding alcohol, which contains a chemical called histamine that can worsen allergy symptoms, drinking plenty of water, wearing protective sunglasses and staying away from grassy parks and green fields are some of the ways in which pollen exposure can be reduced.
Allergy sufferers are advised to wash hands frequently, change clothes after coming from outside and shower immediately to wash off any pollen particles that might be sticking to the skin. If symptoms get too severe, doctors recommend over-the-counter antihistamine medications including nasal sprays, eye drops, tablets and even immunotherapy.
Humans aren’t alone in suffering from hay fever. Even your pets can show signs of allergy which is why it is even important to take caution and ensure that no pollen particles get inside the house. Even though pollen count is much lower in urban areas, people in busy cities can still suffer from hay fever due to a combination of air pollution and pollen, according to the Met Office.