Hay fever alert: Maps reveal if YOU are in a 'pollen bomb' location (2024)

Asthma sufferers have been warned to brace themselves for 'terrifying' and potentially life-threatening attacks as pollen counts rocket across the UK.

Hay fever, an allergy to pollen that affects up to half of Britons, can be particularly severe for patients with lung problems.

Charity Asthma + Lung UK has urged sufferers to stay vigilant forsymptoms such as coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness, which can quickly become severe.

TheMet Officehas forecast a 'very high' pollen count that's set to sweep across the country this week.

By Thursday, the whole of the UK will have been hit by a 'pollen bomb', with only Scotland getting away with 'high' levels and 'medium' levels in the highlands.

For the south of England and Wales pollen levels will be sitting at 'very high' all week with high pollen levels moving north throughout the week.

The 'very high' pollen levels are set to move further north as the week continues with levels high across most of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

By Thursday, the whole of the UK will have been hit by a 'pollen bomb', with only Scotland getting away with 'high' levels and 'medium' levels in the highlands

However, hay fever sufferers will get a slight rest bite over weekend as pollen levels are set to lower in some parts of the UK on Saturday. But the misery will continue for most of the midlands and east coast of England.

On Sunday, pollen levels will rocket again for most of the UK.

A hay fever sufferer's worst nightmare occurs if a high pollen count is coupled with wet weather, followed by sun, especially in a polluted area, as it can create a 'pollen bomb'.

Hay fever suffers have taken to X to write about their battles against the dreaded 'pollen bomb'.

Social media user @cra46159 wrote: 'Apparently we're heading for an imminent "polar blast" and "pollen bomb" so get your coats and your tissues ready. I love our summers.'

Another social media user @lynseyshev wrote: 'Sun finally comes out, triggers a pollen bomb and an asthma attack for me... you can't have it all.'

@ugochio11 also wrote on X: 'With all due respect, I need the pollen bomb to go away. You are not wanted here.'

On Friday most of England will have 'very high' pollen levels.Charity Asthma + Lung UK has urged sufferers to stay vigilant for symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, a tight chest and breathlessness, which can quickly become severe

The Met office forecasts there will continue to be a 'very high' pollen level as we go into the weekend

But there will be no rest bite as pollen level rise even further on Sunday with most of the country forecast to have 'very high' levels

Meanwhile numerous sufferers say they'd been hit by symptoms at night, when pollen levels usually fall.

'I've been up twice through the night, tortured by hay fever,' wrote@chrisdaglorias.

Britain's hay fever season is split into three sections.

Tree pollen arrives first in late March, followed by grass which lasts from mid-May to July and then weed pollen which continues until September.

Rising temperatures, combined with birch pollen's longer growth cycle, have merged to form the perfect storm.

Pollen count is calculated by the number of particles per cubic metre, the Met Office explains.

Hay fever symptoms usually appear when the pollen count exceeds 50.

The Met Office forecast predicts a 'very high' pollen count will sweep across the UK as hay fever sufferers brace for a 'pollen bomb'

For the pollen count to be considered 'high', grass pollen must sit between 50 and 150 grains of pollen per cubic metre, while birch pollen would need a reading between 81 and 200.

Although this is how a 'high' reading is defined, the Met Office highlights that each person will have a different tolerance to different pollen types and counts.

Hay fever affects almost 10million people in England. This equates to almost one in four adults and one in 10 children - and the forecaster says that number is rising.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, a fine powder which comes from plants.

Symptoms include coughing and sneezing; a runny or blocked nose; itchy, red or watery eyes; an itchy throat, nose, mouth or ears; headaches and tiredness, according to the NHS.

Tree pollen counts are highest between late March and mid-May, while grass and weed pollen counts are highest between mid-May and September

Histamine is the chemical that causes an allergic reaction.

Usually, histamine is released when the body detects something harmful, such as an infection. It causes blood vessels to expand and the skin to swell to protect the body.

But in people with allergies, the body mistakes harmless things, such pollen, dust or animal hair, as a threat and produces histamine.

This causes the well-known allergy symptoms of itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and skin rashes.

Read More Got hay fever? Here's your ultimate survival guide

Hay fever can make the summer months miserable.

But taking antihistamines tablets stop a flare up by blocking the action of histamines.

Keeping windows closed, vacuuming regularly and wearing wrap-around sunglasses can also help you minimise your exposure to pollen.

Erika Radford, Head of Health Advice at Asthma + Lung UK, said: 'Rising pollen levels can be very problematic for people with lung conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

'It can make someone’s lung condition symptoms much worse or lead to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack or COPD flare-up. 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.

'This can be terrifying. However, if you have a lung condition such as asthma and you are affected by pollen, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Using your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed is very important as the medicine dampens down swelling and inflammation in the airways. This means you are less likely to react badly to a trigger like pollen.'

Everything you need to know about hay fever

What exactly is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen, a fine powder which comes from plants.

There is more pollen in the air in the spring and summer when plants are flowering.

The reaction usually happens when pollen comes into contact with someone's eyes, nose, mouth or throat.

Symptoms include coughing and sneezing; a runny or blocked nose; itchy, red or watery eyes; an itchy throat, nose, mouth or ears; headaches and tiredness.

The graphic explains how you get an allergic reaction, such as sneezing and coughing, from pollen

Is it getting worse every year?

The severity of hay fever depends on the weather.

Wet and rainy conditions wash pollen away, reducing the number of people suffering from symptoms and their severity.

However, dry weather blows pollen into the air, where it can easily get into the eyes and nose.

The pollen season also seems to be getting longer, with a US study finding that it has been extended by 30 days between 1990 and 2018.

When are symptoms worst?

Hay fever symptoms tend to be worst around 11am and 6pm, and this is because pollen is at nose level.

Pollen is on the ground at the start of the day and rises through as grass warms up.

During the course of the day, the pollen then goes very high up into the atmosphere.

As the temperature cools down during the course of the day, the pollen grains come down to earth again and at about 6pm they tend to be back at nose level.

Hay fever alert: Maps reveal if YOU are in a 'pollen bomb' location (2024)

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