Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is when a person experiences cold-like symptoms including sneezing and a running nose as they have an allergic reaction to pollen. As pollen is a fine powder its easily transported through the air during different times of the year in different parts of the world.
It is one of the most common allergies and affects roughly 13 million people in the UK – around 1 in 5 people in the UK suffer from hay fever.
It’s caused by a high pollen count in the air, usually worse between late March and September. The hot temperatures bring about the humidity, increasing the pollen count.
The Met Office forecasts tree, grass and weed pollen will be at the highest today and tomorrow for most parts of the UK and lower levels in north east Scotland.
Pollen levels are set to decrease throughout the week with the pollen count in the low levels come Friday for all parts of the UK.
The Met Office advises to avoid alcohol when suffering from hay fever.
Substances found in alcohol are the main culprits and contain a substance called histamine and is the chemical that sets off allergy symptoms.
Histamine tightens the lung muscles, relaxes muscles in blood vessels and speeds up muscle movement. Alcoholic drinks to stay away from include champagne, beer and some spirits.
Even though there are no life-threatening risks to hay fever it can impact a person’s life negatively.
Knowing how to combat symptoms is key and knowing when levels are at their highest will help combat the worst symptoms.
Tree pollen is most common in early spring. Grass pollen is common in early summer and ragweed pollen most common in autumn.
The NHS describes ways to help ease the symptoms of pollen count and suggests:
- Put vaseline around your nose to trap pollen getting in
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes
- Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside
- Vacuum regularly
- Buy a pollen filter
- Do not cut or walk on grass
- Do not keep fresh flowers in your home
- Do not dry your clothes outside