'Stay indoors' hay fever warning as visits to NHS website double

A very high pollen warning has been issued
-Credit: (Image: Met Office)

Hay fever sufferers have been warned to stay indoors amid a 'very high' pollen count warning. The rating is set to be in place for most of the UK this weekend.

Only Orkney and Shetland and the Highlands and Eilean SIar, in Scotland, will have 'medium' counts. And the NHS has reportedly seen double the visits to its hay fever page since Monday, June 18.

An average of 11,736 visits have been made per day since Monday compared to a daily average of 4,749 visits at the weekend. This is an increase of 147 per cent.

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Prof Sir Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, told The Sun: "Most people will be pleased to see summer finally arrive, but it also seems to have led to an increase in pollen levels and discomfort for hay fever sufferers."

Allergens expert and creator of HayMax allergen barrier balms, Max Wiseberg, says: "On Monday for 14 of the 16 UK regions – with only northern Scotland escaping. This will be worse than ‘Hay Day’ [Friday June 21] when ‘only’ 12 UK regions are likely to have very high pollen levels.

“Whether or not this turns out to be the case, this weekend and early next week will certainly be one of the worst times for hay fever sufferers. Many regions of the UK are forecast to have high and very high pollen counts for the foreseeable future. We are definitely in peak hay fever season.”

For people with asthma, high pollen levels can be fatal and they've been warned to 'stay indoors'.

Erika Radford from Asthma + Lung UK added: "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.

"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.

"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. You should always have your reliever inhaler nearby, even when at home, in case pollen does trigger symptoms like breathlessness or chest tightness.

"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."

Click here to read about hay fever on the NHS website.