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Warning to hay fever sufferers: Met Office claims ‘pollen bomb’ misery could last for WEEKS as map reveals biggest hotspots this weekend
- Levels are forecasted to be very high across England and Wales this weekend
- READ MORE: Got hay fever? Here’s your ultimate 2023 survival guide
Hay fever sufferers have been told their misery is nowhere near over yet, with the ‘pollen bomb’ set to last weeks longer.
Millions have been battered by the seasonal sniffles over the past month.
Levels are forecasted to be very high across England and Wales this weekend, too.
The Met Office, which tracks counts throughout the summer, says grass pollen has hit its ‘peak’.
It means sufferers will only get a respite once the grass has completely shed pollen, according to spokesperson Grahame Madge.
Millions have been battered by the seasonal sniffles over the past month. Levels are forecasted to be very high across England and Wales this weekend, too. The Met Office, which tracks counts throughout the summer, says grass pollen has hit its ‘peak’
London and the South East, indapamide fatigue the South West, the West Midlands and Wales are all set to be hit by ‘very high’ pollen levels tomorrow
Sufferers will then get a temporary respite Saturday, with none of the most extreme warnings issued
But three areas — Wales, London and the South East and the South West — fall under the Met Office’s red category again on Sunday
He acknowledged, however, that any ‘significant rainfall’ would effectively ‘wash the pollen out of the atmosphere’.
Mr Madge said: ‘For sufferers, hay fever has been a feature of the last few days and will continue to be a feature for sufferers over the next few days and weeks.’
London and the South East, the South West, the West Midlands and Wales are all set to be hit by ‘very high’ pollen levels tomorrow.
Sufferers will then get a temporary respite Saturday, with none of the most extreme warnings issued.
But three areas — Wales, London and the South East and the South West — fall under the Met Office’s red category again on Sunday.
What are the types of pollen people can be allergic to?
Grass pollen affects most of the 37 per cent of people thought to suffer with hayfever.
The first peak usually occurs in the first two weeks of June, with the second in the first two weeks of July.
However, this can change depending on the weather.
A reading between 50 and 150 grains of grass pollen per cubic metre is considered high by the Met Office.
Tree pollen usually occurs first from late March to mid-May.
Around a quarter of people are allergic to tree pollen.
There are several distinct types of tree pollen in Britain including: alder, hazel, birch, pine, willow, oak and ash.
These vary in prevalence based on what part of the country you live in and your local wildlife.
A pollen count of between 81 and 200 is considered high by the Met Office.
Weed pollen can be released at any time of the year but usually covers the end of June to September.
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen — a fine powder which comes from plants, trees and grass. Around 10million people are thought to suffer.
As well as a runny nose and itchy issues, it can cause a tickly throat, headaches and tiredness.
Sufferers are advised to put Vaseline around their nose to trap pollen, or wear wrap-around sunglasses to protect their eyes.
Other tips include showering when returning home, keeping windows closed in the early mornings and evenings, when pollen levels are particularly high, and avoiding gardening and hanging laundry outdoors.
But there is no cure, with many only experiencing relief when the season dies down in November.
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.
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.
It comes after MailOnline earlier this week found private clinics illegally promoting hay fever jabs for as little as £45.
While Brits can legally get Kenalog privately, clinics are banned from promoting any prescription-only medications under UK advertising rules.
The powerful drug suppresses the immune system, dampening the allergic reaction hay fever sufferers experience. Its effects can last months.
The stunning views of Durdle Door in Dorset being enjoyed by people visiting the beach
READ MORE: Urgent warning over risky hay fever jabs being sold for as little as £45 as UK gets battered by ‘pollen bomb’
But the jab was phased out of NHS use around a decade ago after safety watchdogs decided its risks outweighed the benefits.
Meanwhile, large parts of England and Wales have been issued with a thunderstorm weather warning by the Met Office ahead of the weekend.
Parts of the country are predicted to be hotter than Marbella, Ibiza and Tenerife over the weekend thanks to an ‘Iberian plume’.
Highs of up to 27C (81F) are expected in parts of the south tomorrow, before hitting 29C (84F) on Saturday.
But the same mass of very warm air from Spain will also bring with it cloud, rain and thunderstorms, forecasters say.
Previous thunderstorms during pollen peaks have prompted experts to warn about ‘thunder fever’.
Thunder fever’ refers to a phenomenon where people can experience severe hay fever or asthma symptoms during a time of high pollen counts and storms.
Winds brought by the storm pick up more pollen grains and mould spores which are then carried into the air, according to one leading theory thought to explain the condition.
When the pollen comes into contact with water carried in humid air, it swells and ruptures into smaller particles.
These can travel deeper into the airways, potentially triggering an attack or exacerbating symptoms.
Hay fever myths BUSTED: Having sex or eating honey will NOT rid you of the seasonal sniffles… but you CAN ‘grow out’ of the pollen allergy
With the nation being battered by sky-high pollen levels, desperate Britons are scrambling to find a quick fix for their sniffles.
Popular theories being peddled online recommend having sex, eating honey and only venturing outside at night — others have jumped on the trend to claim that rain will wash away pollen and that people can ‘grow out’ of the annoying illness.
But, as ever, not every bit of medical advice you read online is quite as billed.
Here, MailOnline dismisses some of the bogus claims gaining most traction.
Whenever mercury starts to shoot up, social media becomes rife with claims that having sex can ease hay fever
Having sex will NOT work
Whenever mercury starts to shoot up, social media becomes rife with claims that having sex can ease hay fever.
It was sparked by study from Iran in 2008 that noted a blocked or runny nose — tell-tale hay fever symptoms — are caused by blood vessels in the nose expanding in response to a high pollen count.
Because nasal sprays — often recommended by pharmacists to manage symptoms — work by causing the blood vessels in the nose to narrow, researchers suggested that male ejaculation, which has the same effect, could alleviate these symptoms.
It prompted advocates to recommend that men should have sex or masturbate when suffering nasal congestion — if it is caused by hay fever, or even a cold or flu, which have the same effect on expanding blood vessels in the nose.
The researchers advised that patients should ‘adjust the number of intercourses or masturbations depending on the severity of the symptoms’.
But the same paper was dismissed just two months later — in the same journal. Other experts in Iran called the supposed treatment ‘inconvenient, unreliable and potentially hazardous’.
The belief is honey, especially locally-grown versions that are not processed, pasteurised or filtered to the same extent as commercial honey, contains traces of pollen which can act as immunotherapy that trains your body to cope by consuming small doses of pollen. But the evidence on whether it actually works isn’t quite as sweet
Eating honey WON’T help
The belief is honey, especially locally-grown versions that are not processed, pasteurised or filtered to the same extent as commercial honey, contains traces of pollen.
Some believe it can therefore act as immunotherapy that trains your body to cope by consuming small doses of pollen.
But the evidence on whether it actually works isn’t quite as sweet.
The pollen that triggers sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes is small grains shed from grass and trees, which bees do not visit to pollinate.
Instead, they come into contact with heavier flower-based pollen, which does not cause hay fever. Only small amounts end up in the final product.
Some studies have suggested honey does work, but critics have pointed huge flaws in their methodology, piling huge doubts on whether the results can be trusted.
Research by the University of Connecticut from 2002, which is deemed the best study, involved giving 36 hay fever sufferers one tablespoon a day of either small-batch and unfiltered honey; nationally-collected, filtered and pasteurised honey; or corn syrup with honey flavouring.
The findings, published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, show that after 10 days of tracking their symptoms, none of the groups reported any easing of their symptoms.
Around half of people find that their symptoms get better with age and one in five say they disappear completely, according to a Swedish study.
You CAN ‘grow out’ of it
There is no cure for hay fever. But around half of people find that their symptoms get better with age and one in five say they disappear completely, according to a Swedish study.
Researchers at University Hospital in Lund, Sweden quizzed 5,000 people aged 20 to 60 on their sneezing, and coughing habits due to hay fever, fur and dust allergies. Each completed two questionnaires, eight years apart.
Results, published in the scientific journal Allergy, showed that 20 per cent reported that their symptoms disappeared within the eight-year period, with people in their fifties most likely to report that they had vanished.
A separate 23-year study of more than 700 students in the US found 55 per cent reported their hay fever had improved, of which 23 per cent became symptom-free.
However, a third of the participants, who were 40-years-old when they updated scientists on their symptoms, said their hay fever had not changed, while one in 10 reported that it had worsened with age.
Medics are unsure why some people are able to shake off their hay fever.
But the NHS notes that around half of people report their symptoms easing with age, even if they do not disappear completely.
Those who think they will not be coughing and sneezing if they keep inside during the day and only go out at night may be disappointed — depending on what type of pollen is triggering their symptoms
Hay fever ISN’T always worse in the day
The NHS advises the one in five Britons suffering hay fever to stay indoors whenever the pollen count is high.
A high pollen count is associated with daylight hours because sun and warmth cause plants to release pollen into the air, while cooler night-time periods are thought of as low-risk for allergy sufferers.
But those who think they will not be coughing and sneezing if they keep inside during the day and only go out at night may be disappointed — depending on what type of pollen is triggering their symptoms.
A team of researchers from Adam Mickiewicz University in Umultowska, Poland, studied the levels of five common types of pollen during the day, between 8am and 8pm, and at night, between 8pm and 8am.
Levels of mugwort pollen — which peaks between July and August in the UK — were lower after the sun went down.
But the concentration of ragweed pollen, which thrives in summer and can remain circulating until September, were higher at night.
And the rates of grass, which runs from May to September, and alder pollen, which circulates from January to April, varied little over a 24-hour period.
Light drizzle can stop pollen spreading through the air. US researchers, who analysed 14 years of weather and pollen count data, found that pollen levels fell after if there was less than 10cm of rain
And rain DOESN’T always reduce pollen count
Some hay fever sufferers may be hoping the UK’s sunny forecast is replaced with showers in the hopes that wet weather will bring down sky-high pollen levels.
Light drizzle can stop pollen spreading through the air. US researchers, who analysed 14 years of weather and pollen count data, found that pollen levels fell if there was less than 10cm of rain — around a tenth of the UK’s annual rainfall.
But heavy rain can actually worsen hay fever symptoms. The US team found pollen increased if rain fall soared above 10 cm.
And healthcare data from South Korea shows people were more likely to visit their doctor due to hay fever after heavy rain or typhoons.
But the Met Office warns that heavy and prolonged rainfall can keep pollen counts low all day. Meanwhile, rain in the afternoon is less effective at bringing down pollen levels.
And while consistent rainfall over autumn and winter decreases pollen, intermittent wet days tends to trigger a more severe pollen season overall, as this encourages plants to grow and release more, it says.
While hay fever rates are higher among people in their teens and early twenties, researchers have said some people do not suffer any symptoms until they are in their seventies
You only get it when you’re YOUNG
Some unlucky people will develop hay fever later in life despite being unaffected by pollen throughout their childhood and early adulthood.
People can be predisposed to suffering hay fever — such as if they have a family history of allergies. But there is no way to know when they will first suffer from the condition.
While hay fever rates are higher among people in their teens and early twenties, researchers have said some people do not suffer any symptoms until they are in their seventies.
No-one knows exactly why hay fever can appear out of the blue but there are a number of theories.
Some experts say that older sufferers may have always had hay fever but their symptoms were not noticeable until later life.
Global warming is also thought to play a role as it extends summers, prolonging the period that pollen is released. This could exacerbate hay fever rates, with the number of sufferers doubling over the last three decades.
Studies suggest more hygienic modern living means our bodies are less able to bat off hay fever compared to our ancestors, as we are exposed to more disinfectants and cleaning products and pick up fewer infections from outdoors and animals.
And the Covid lockdown — which saw Britons isolated from others for months — may have weakened immunity even further, experts say. Working from home and having limited close contacts during the pandemic is a ‘plausible’ reason for why more people seem to be suffering hay fever in the last year, according to Professor Paul Hunter.
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