Pollen count: ‘High’ warnings across the UK – signs and symptoms of hay fever
Hay fever is a common condition that’s caused by an allergy to different types of pollen, according to the NHS. Pollen is a fine powder that’s released by plants, and it contains proteins that can irritate the nose, throat and eyes. With around 20 per cent of the UK affected by hay fever, pollen count spikes could result in large numbers of runny noses and watering eyes. Most of the UK can expect ‘High’ levels of pollen today, according to the Met Office.
Hay fever patients can expect their symptoms to be worse today than any other day of the week forthcoming, it revealed.
Everywhere in England has ‘High’ pollen levels today, apart from the southwest of the country.
Wales has been forecasted a ’Moderate’ pollen count, while Northern Ireland and the Orkney and Shetland Islands will have ‘Low’ pollen levels.
If you do start to develop hay fever symptoms, they’ll likely be caused by tree pollen, the Met Office added.
Charity Allergy UK said: “Hay fever is a common allergic reaction which occurs at particular times of the year.
“It is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies to certain substances, such as pollen, house dust mites or mould, 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.”
Hay fever causes cold-like signs and symptoms, including a runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion and sneezing.
Some people could even develop a loss of smell, facial pain, earache, and tiredness.
But, the symptoms vary depending on how much pollen is in the air, as well as between different individuals.
“These unpleasant and sometimes debilitating symptoms can be relieved by avoidance of the allergic triggers and the use of antihistamines,” said the charity.
Meanwhile, avoid drying clothes on an outdoor washing line, especially when pollen counts are high.
Putting petroleum jelly around your nostrils could help to trap pollen, and prevent symptoms, said the NHS.
Alternatively, wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting into your eyes.
To avoid runny noses and itchy eyes, avoid cutting the grass or keeping fresh flowers indoors. Smoking, or being around smoke, could make hay fever symptoms worse.
You should speak to a doctor if your hay fever symptoms can’t be controlled by over-the-counter medication.