Hay fever: The UK areas worst hit by pollen – and how to ease symptoms

Picture: Friday's pollen count, Met Office
Picture: Friday's pollen count, Met Office
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While many of us have been enjoying the chance to get out the barbecue, the glorious hot weather this week has spelt bad news for the millions of hay fever sufferers in the UK

The much anticipated mini-heatwave has set off an abnormally high tree pollen count.

And while heavy rain is forecast to hit from Thursday, this will only last a few days as the sunnier week after will bring Britain back to the sizzling temperatures of the first Bank Holiday of the month.

That means more sniffing, sneezing and coughing for many.

A spokesperson for the Met Office told i: “We’re about to see a turn into cloudy, wet weather but the return to warmer weather will bring higher pollen counts. “Pollen counts rise during the morning and then gradually fall off by the evening.”

Sufferers may also want to get pollen ‘push’ notifications via the Met Office mobile app to alert you when the pollen count is moderate or above to help manage the condition.

What causes my hay fever?

Hay fever is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies (IgE) to certain substances, such as pollen or house dust mites, which are known as allergens.

Grass pollen is the most common allergen (May to July), but tree (February to June) and weed (June to September) pollens can also cause the allergic reaction we know as hay fever, according to Allergy UK.

Unlike in seasonal rhinitis, the symptoms of perennial allergic rhinitis will usually be present throughout the entire year and usually relate to indoor allergens, such as house dust mites, pets, including birds, or moulds.

How can I manage my symptoms?

The NHS advises you to:

Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.

Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes.

Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside to wash pollen off.

Stay indoors whenever possible. Keep windows and doors shut as much as possible.

Vacuum regularly and dust with a damp cloth.

Buy a pollen filter for the air vents in your car and a vacuum cleaner with a special HEPA filter.

You can minimise symptoms by avoiding:

Cutting grass or walk on grass.

Spending too much time outside.

Keeping fresh flowers in the house.

Smoking or being around smoke – it makes your symptoms worse.

Drying clothes outside – they can catch pollen.

Letting pets into the house if possible – they can carry pollen indoors.

This story first appeared on the inews website.