Millions at Risk of Asthma Attacks as Pollen Levels Rise
As the weather becomes warmer and spells of prolonged sunshine wash over the country, Brits are glad that the dreadful winter is finally over. But for millions of hay fever and asthma sufferers, more rain and sunshine means stuffy, runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches.
Pollen Levels at All-Time High
Pollen count is at record high and experts are warning that millions of asthma sufferers could be exposed to an increased risk of life-threatening asthma attacks. After a long, miserable winter, the sudden warm weather has become a nightmare for allergy sufferers, making pollen particles more widespread across the country.
According to the Met Office reports, West England, Wales and Midlands are expected to experiences extremely high pollen levels for the next few weeks due to the explosion of a ‘pollen bomb’ – a phenomenon which occurs when a long period of cold weather is followed by a sudden rise in temperature and rainfall, causing quick and excessive growth of flowers and trees.
The Met Office released a forecast saying that pollen count is expected to stay high throughout the week and even eastern regions such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, which has been able to avoid the hay fevers until now, will see an increase in pollen content over the coming few weeks. The pollen season is now in full gear thanks to the recent rainy season that has boosted the growth of grass and flowers in the U.K.
Increased Risk of Asthma Attacks
Beverley Adams-Groom, a pollen forecaster for BBC says that the weather conditions are perfect for high levels of pollen, specifically grass pollen which triggers hay fever symptoms in almost 95 per cent of the sufferers. According to Adam-Grooms, the pollen season is expected to last until the rainy spell passes and U.K. sees drier, warmer months of summer.
In the worst-case scenario, hay fever symptoms will be exacerbated by occasional rain which will only continue the growth of trees and grass. Experts predict that pollen season will be at its peak in June which is why hay fever sufferers are advised to take antihistamines to ease the fever symptoms.
The pollen season started a little late this year in comparison to last year due to a long winter and even colder temperatures during spring, given less time for the grass to grow properly. After June, the pollen count is expected to go down as strong sunshine and higher temperatures take over, although, weed pollen from fungal spores will return in the fall season.
With the recent surge in flower and tree growth due to warmer season, the risk of hay fever and life-threatening asthma attacks has also increased. Both of these illnesses have a close relationship, and, are both triggered by the same allergen: pollen. According to a research, more than 80 per cent of the asthma sufferers report worsening symptoms with an increase in pollen count.
Preventive Tips for Asthma Sufferers
An expert at Asthma UK says that during high flower growth season pollen is the number one trigger for asthma attacks, affecting more than 3 million brits. Symptoms can be even worse for asthma sufferers who also suffer from hay fever, increasing their chances of getting an asthma attack along with runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches.
Asthma sufferers are recommended to take their antihistamine medication regularly, as well as keep an inhaler with them at all times to prevent an asthma attack. People with asthma can also take extra precautionary steps during the pollen season to reduce their exposure to the allergen.
Allergy UK recommends keeping all windows and doors locked to prevent pollen particles from getting inside. When outside, use sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting in your eyes, change your clothing after coming back home and wash yourself to get rid of any allergens than may be stuck to your skin.
Pollen levels are generally higher during mornings and evening so avoid leaving the house or walking in a grassy park during the peak hours. Smoking and drinking can also trigger asthma symptoms which is why it is recommended to avoid them during the pollen season to lower the risk of asthma attack.
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