Summer is the best time of the year in plenty of ways – but it can be an absolute nightmare for those with hay fever and asthma.
Those who suffer from hay fever – an allergic reaction to pollen – tend to be blighted with runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing in the warmer months, while asthma sufferers can often find their lung condition worsen if they get hay fever, too.
This is because as breathing in hot air narrows airways, while pollen can trigger asthma, especially if you have a ‘allergy-induced’ kind.
Unfortunately, it’s a bleak outlook for sufferers of both this weekend who are in for a few days of soaring pollen counts.
Greg Dewhurst from the Met Office told : “With the next four or five days staying dry and sunny, the grass pollen count is going to be high across southern and central parts of the UK.”
He adds: “The pollen count is looking moderate to low across the rest of the country.”
This means, those in the south and some parts of central England might want to take some steps to prevent asthma attacks if you plan to be outside in the glorious weather.
“Grass pollen levels are high at the moment, and for people with asthma, a high pollen count could put them at risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack,” Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at Asthma UK, explained to .
Emma warned that some asthma symptoms shouldn’t be confused with Covid-19 symptoms; asthma doesn’t come with a fever (or high temperature), while its one of the main symptoms of the latter.
“If you’re allergic to pollen, you might be getting asthma symptoms, including feeling short of breath, a tight chest, or wheezing and these could be confused with Covid-19. The main difference is that hay fever doesn’t usually come with a fever,” she explains.
“We are advising everyone with asthma who suffers from hay fever to make sure they take their asthma medicines as prescribed alongside their usual hay fever medicines to reduce the risk of hay fever triggering an asthma attack.”
Asthma UK offer some tips to reduce the risk of hay fever triggering an asthma attack over the weekend:
- Carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every day. If you have asthma, hay fever can cause your already inflamed airways to swell up even more. Reliever inhalers quickly relax the muscles in your airways and ease your symptoms on the spot, so it’s important to carry your reliever inhaler with you.
- Take your preventer inhaler as prescribed. This reduces sensitivity and swelling in your airways, helping to stop wheezing and coughing before they even start. Make sure you take your preventer inhaler exactly as prescribed to reduce the risk of hay fever triggering your asthma symptoms.
- Blitz hay fever symptoms with antihistamine and/or a steroid nasal spray. There are lots of different medicine options for hay fever. Your pharmacist can help you decide what to try.
For more information, visit Asthma UK.