13 million UK households warned 'stay indoors' from today

A hay fever warning has been issued as a pollen bomb explodes across the UK. 13 million people suffer from hay fever with symptoms and signs including everything from itchy eyes and a runny nose to constant sneezing and breathlessness too.

“More than three million people with asthma are affected by pollen and when levels are at their highest it can be deadly for those with a lung condition," said Erika Radford from Asthma + Lung UK. "When pollen particles are breathed in, they can cause inflammation in the airways and get into the lungs, making it harder for those with lung conditions to breathe which can be terrifying," she explained.

“Checking pollen and air pollution forecasts in your local area every day is a good idea, so you can avoid going outdoors as much as possible on high pollen days," she said. “You should always have your reliever inhaler nearby, even when at home, in case pollen does trigger symptoms like breathlessness or chest tightness.

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"Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in the airways to help you breathe more easily when symptoms arise. Another thing you can do is to take antihistamine medicines to relieve your hay fever symptoms.

"In addition, your GP can prescribe a steroid nasal spray to help reduce the allergic reaction." Barry Atkins, CEO of Tester.co.uk, commented: "People can use two simple, everyday household items to reduce the risk of hayfever. The first is Vaseline, which is excellent for more than moisturising cracked, chapped lips; spreading petroleum jelly around nostrils can trap pollen and reduce the risks of hayfever hell this summer. Secondly, sunglasses protect eyes from grass pollen and other allergens. People can also wear wraparound sunglasses with side shields, offering maximum allergy protection.

“Next, it’s essential to change clothes when entering the home. When spending time in outside areas, pollen can fall onto clothes and turn inside areas into a hayfever nightmare. A shower can further wash away any pesky pollen collected throughout the day. Pets can also collect pollen in furry coats, worsening symptoms further.”